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Fran-tastic Frankel wows Knavesmire crowd with Juddmonte International win
IT was billed as the “I was there” moment and the tens of thousands who flocked to see Frankel at York Racecourse will remember it forever.
The £100 million colt, the best racehorse in the world, put on a breathtaking show to storm to victory in the £725,000 Juddmonte International.
The question had been whether the Sir Henry Cecil-trained phenomenon would be able to handle the step up in trip from a mile to a mile-and-a-quarter.
But any concerns should not have been over whether he would win, but by how much.
The answer was a hugely impressive seven lengths over Farhh – a performance which saw the packed York stands roar with approval for Frankel and jockey Tom Queally, as the pair racked up their 13th straight victory.
It was the Ballydoyle pacesetters, Robin Hood and Windsor Palace, who blasted out of the stalls to try to set the race up for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien’s main runner, St Nicholas Abbey.
But Queally wisely did not get involved, settling Frankel towards the rear of the nine-runner field.
As they moved into the straight, Queally took up a position close to the far rail and, as Joseph O’Brien got to work on St Nicholas Abbey, Frankel ranged up ominously alongside.
He went into the lead without his rider having to ask him for any effort and quickened up in brilliant style, leaving Farhh to beat St Nicholas Abbey by a nose for the minor placings.
With the 1-10 priced wonder-horse not likely to race beyond the end of this season, it was fitting that he put up perhaps the best performance of his career in front of a Yorkshire crowd – a fact Cecil fully appreciated.
“That was great, wasn’t it? It’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s great for Yorkshire. They are very supportive of racing and they deserve to see him.”
The trainer, who is battling a serious illness, added when asked how the victory had made him feel: “Twenty years better.”
Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Frankel’s owner Prince Khalid Abdullah and also chairman of York Racecourse, said: “You get so spoiled don’t you? You expect this from him.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant at all because the way he has come through and done everything is just so wonderful.
“It’s hard to believe, and so the expectations are just enormous. That he keeps delivering time and time again is just remarkable.
“Each time you say, ‘that was amazing’, but then he goes and does it again. But that is Frankel – I’ve never seen anything like him.
“It was a brilliant crowd who really appreciated him and for the horse to have performed in the way he did was an absolute dream. We’re living that dream.”
A delighted Queally added: “Everything from now on in will be an anti-climax. “We’ll never find another one like him, and I’m so privileged to be part of it all. I could stand here all day trying to describe him, but words just can’t describe him.
“Some people don’t really understand how much you have to put in to get a horse to a racecourse. “He’s the ultimate miler, and now he’s proven at a mile-and-a-quarter.”