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Frankel brings curtain down on stellar career
Stand by for a special day in turf history.
Tomorrow at Ascot, the mighty Frankel, considered by many to be the best Flat horse ever seen, brings down the curtain on his career, which has spanned 13 races, 13 wins and prize money of £2.26 million.
Few in North Yorkshire will ever forget the highly-charged day in August when Frankel came to York and conquered allcomers in the Juddmonte International in a style which smacked of pure class.
That was his first race beyond a mile and the second will be tomorrow when he tackles the Qipco Champion Stakes against five rivals, including his half-brother and lead-horse Bullet Train.
Tom Queally will yet again be in the saddle on Frankel, who has seemingly pleased Sir Henry Cecil in his build-up to this final outing before he retires to stud with a £100 million price tag around his handsome neck.
Tomorrow’s race is no push-over. Ironically, the main danger to Frankel may come from Nathanial, who finished second to him when both horses made their debuts at Newmarket in August 2010.
Since then Nathianal has also proved himself a class act. Last season, he won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and, although he narrowly failed this season to produce an encore, he has won the Coral-Eclipse and finished a close second to Snow Fairy in the Irish Champion Stakes.
Also in the field is Cirrus Des Aigles, winner of 16 races, including this race last year and the recent Prix Dollar at Longchamp.
It would be a crying shame if Frankel is beaten. But it is doubtful that he will be. The likelihood is that he will take his remarkable record to 14 straight wins and earn further adulation for his enormous talents. Enjoy tomorrow’s race. It is the last time you will ever see Frankel in full flight.
The Champions Day card at Ascot is a quality affair, despite the fact that it comes too late in the season for any amount of horses in danger of being past their best in late October.
That said, make note of Excelebration, beaten by 11 lengths into second by Frankel at Royal Ascot but winner of a Group 1 race at Deauville since, in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and Haydock Sprint Cup winner Society Rock in the Qipco British Champions Sprint.
Likewise, Aiken (1.45), stepping up to two miles for the first time, and the classy mud-lover Sapphire (2.55) are also worth considering.
The nap vote is awarded to a runner nearer home, Bunce, in the first division of the Bet totepool Handicap at Catterick.
David O’Meara’s gelding, a creditable fourth at Southwell and Thirsk on his last two starts, has a wide draw to overcome, but he is a pacey horse and he is expected to benefit from this return to seven furlongs.
Newmarket trainer William Haggas has treble prospects with reent winners Gallena (1.40) and Columella (2.15) and Chocolate Block (3.25), who should have benefited from her first run at Pontefract. This longer trip should also suit her.
1.45 Aiken, 2.20 Society Rock, 2.55 Sapphire, 3.30 Excelebration, 4.05 Frankel, 4.45 Jack Dexter.
1.40 Gallena, 2.15 Columella, 2.50 Ponty Acclaim, 3.25 Chocolate Block, 4.00 Arley Hall, 4.40 Bunce (NAP), 5.15 Talent Scout, 5.45 Blue Dune.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Cheltenham, Kelso and Wolverhampton.
Today’s meetings: Cheltenham, Fakenham, Haydock, Redcar and Wolverhampton.
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