|Frankel Bows Out On A High|
One of the world’s greatest racehorses, nicknamed “Usain Colt”, raced to first place in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot in his last ever race before retiring.
The four-year-old Frankel has now won 14 races from as many starts, securing his reputation as one of the world’s greatest race horses.
The colt won his 10th group one race with a trademark display of pure brilliance and speed – despite being slowly away from the stalls. Sent off the 2-11 favourite, Khalid Abdullah’s wonder horse took up the running from Cirrus Des Aigles over a furlong out under his jockey Tom Queally. He eventually pulled away from the French raider to win comfortably by a length and three-quarters.
Trained by Sir Henry Cecil, the colt has captured the public imagination like no other horse since Desert Orchid, and has managed to spark interest in the sport from outside the racing world. Frankel is the son of 2001 Epsom Derby winner Galileo – a leading stallion in her own right, who won six races during her career.
Frankel beat five rivals in the £1.3m Qipco Champions Stakes, including his half-brother Bullet Train, and was watched by a sell-out crowd of 32,000 during the highlight of British Champions Day.
There had been concerns that the ground may have been too demanding and that Frankel may have been be pulled out of the race. But a dry night at the Berkshire circuit helped soothe those fears.
Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah confirmed that Frankel has run his last race and will be retired to stud after winning.
Sir Henry has said that Frankel is the best animal he has ever handled in 44 years of working with horses, and that the relationship sustained him though his recent battle against stomach cancer.
“I am so lucky to have been allocated Frankel to train. He has been an inspiration and challenge, which I really needed so badly,” he said last week. “Through my illness, I feel that the help from my wife Jane and the determination to be there for Frankel has helped me so much to get through the season.”
As Frankel raced his final victory lap, racing chiefs have spoken of the need to build on his legacy.
Simon Bazalgette, chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, which runs major tracks including Aintree, Cheltenham and Newmarket, said that racing must look at all avenues to build on the momentum the likes of Frankel have created.
“Frankel has been fantastic for British racing,” said Mr Bazalgette. “He has given racing fans performances to get really excited about and helped our sport head news bulletins and go beyond the racing pages.
“Once retired his legend and positive impact can continue for years to come, particularly if his progeny turn out to be stars.”
Frankel can now expect to spend the remainder of his days – which could be 20 years or more – establishing his name in the stud books that record every mating between Thoroughbreds since the breed developed about 300 years ago. Frankel is by Galileo, who stands at Coolmore and has become the most sought-after stallion in Europe following the retirement from breeding duties of his own sire, Sadler’s Wells, who was Europe’s champion sire 14 times.
His dam-line is equally strong, being out of mare Kind by another phenomenal world sire sensation in Danehill – she in turn is out of broodmare sire Rainbow Quest – the sire of Yellow Star Stud’s own Spectrum – who has inherited his father’s own powerful broodmare-sire abilities.
For interest sake Spectrum has also proved his success overseas with Coolmore’s Galileo filly Up. She has won a Gr 2 and Gr 3 in Europe this year, and placed second in a French Gr 1.
It is difficult to estimate how much Frankel is worth as a stallion, despite the widely-touted figure of £100m, and since there is no amount of money that might persuade Prince Khalid Abdulla, his owner to sell him, it could be argued that he is priceless.
In terms of his earning potential, however, he will be in such demand by breeders around the world that a fee of £100,000 per cover is plausible for his first few seasons. If his early crops produce high-class performers, it could go higher still, but even if it remains at that level, he would be expected to generate revenue of at least £10m per year and £200m over a 20-year stud career.