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HRN Original Blog:
Across the Pond

Cracker Jack Field to Face Frankel in Queen Elizabeth II

10 September 25: Frankel (no. 2), ridden by Tom Queally and trained by H. R. A. Cecil, wins the Royal Lodge Stakes for two year olds at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, England. (Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire)
Undefeated superstar Frankel makes his long-awaited return to the races this Saturday in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot. The eight-furlong contest is one of two group I races that highlight the new British Champions Day that is sponsored by QIPCO.

 

A total of five group races will be run on Saturday. In addition to the QEII, the 10-furlong Champion Stakes (Eng-I) will also be run. The Champion Stakes was moved from its usual Newmarket home to Ascot and has taken its place as the anchor race on the program. In addition, there are two group II races, and a group III race on the program.

 

Of course, the headliner in the QEII field is the mighty Frankel. The 3-year-old son of Galileo is undefeated in eight starts, and is looking to wrap up his perfect season with a win in this race. Frankel will be making his first start since July 27, when he soundly defeated the classy Canford Cliffs in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) at Glorious Goodwood.

 

Trainer Henry Cecil is very pleased with the way Frankel has been training, telling reporters, “I’m very happy with him. I think he is an improving horse. I’m delighted with him at the moment and hopefully it would be nice to run the race and he’ll do what people would expect him to do.”

 

The always cautious trainer is taking nothing for granted, and doesn’t assume that the victory is in the bag. “No race is a formality. I respect the opposition and there’s no such thing as a good thing.”

 

Tom Queally will once again be aboard Frankel on Saturday.

 

One of Frankel’s chief rivals comes in the form of a very talented filly. Immortal Verse has won four of her seven starts for trainer Robert Collet, with her last two wins coming in group I company. In June, the 3-year-old daughter of Pivotal stormed home by 2 ¼-lengths to win the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot. She followed that up with a solid one-length defeat of Goldikova in the Prix Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) in August. She certainly should not be overlooked. Gerald Mosse will ride.

 

Another challenger is the rapidly-improving Excelebration. The son of Exceed And Excel has been chasing Frankel for most of the season, finishing behind him in the Greenham Stakes (Eng-III, second) and St. James’s Palace Stakes (Eng-I, third). The Marco Botti-trained colt finally nailed a group I victory of his own when he cruised to a 1 ½-length win in the Qatar Prix du Moulin (Fr-I) in September. Jamie Spencer will ride.

 

Trainer Richard Hannon will send out the always dangerous Dick Turpin. The nearly black colt enters the QEII off of a gutsy victory over Cityscape in the Premio Vittorio di Capua (It-I) on Sept. 24, which he won by a short head. That was the second group I victory for Dick Turpin, who also won the Prix Jean Prat (Fr-I) in 2010.

 

Dick Turpin has won two other stakes races this year-the bet365 Mile (Eng-II) and the Summer Mile Stakes (Eng-II), and sports a record of nine wins in 19 starts. Richard Hughes will be in the saddle.

 

Another tough competitor is Dubawi Gold. Also trained by Richard Hannon, the 3-year-old son of Dubawi has found himself chasing both Frankel and Excelebration all season. When he finally found a race that neither colt ran in he was successful, capturing the Betfair Celebration Mile (Eng-II) by a half-length. Johnny Murtagh will have the mount.

 

Godolphin will send out the defending QEII champion, Poet’s Voice. Another son of Dubawi, the bay colt held off Rip Van Winkle by a nose to win the 2010 running. In his five starts since that race, Poet’s Voice has been unable to find the winner’s circle. Three of those races have been at distances longer than one mile, however, which is probably further than he wants to go. Frankie Dettori will be aboard.


The field is rounded out by Bullet Train, the older half-brother to Frankel that will be used as a pacemaker, and Side Glance, winner of the Sovereign Stakes (Eng-III).

 

 

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Older Comments about Cracker Jack Field to Face Frankel in Queen Elizabeth II...

Great field--Immortal Verse is the real deal, and Dick Turpin and Dubawi Gold both a bit scary; still looking for Frankel to remain undefeated, but do feel this will be closer.
I think Immortal Verse could run Frankel close at decent odds,wheni say close i`m talking 4 or 5 lengths!!
I think the Q.E.II Stakes field is going to be, by far, the toughest that Frankel has faced at a mile so far this season. Excelebration is a much better horse now than the one that Frankel defeated in the Greenham Stakes and the St James's Palace Stakes earlier in the year. Plus the dynamite French filly, Immortal Verse, who defeated Goldikova in the G1 Prix Jacques Le Marois with a good bit in hand, and she's also won the G1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot back in June. When he's at his best, Dick Turpin has also run very well at Ascot in the past, too. Now all of that said, if Frankel is at his best, he still doesn't get beaten by anyone in this field either. JMO.
That is a very salty group of horses & would be super sweet if Frankel would run at Ascot & then over here!
I saw on Bloodhorse that Frankel might come over for the Breeders Cup. That could make the mile the race of the year.
I love Frankel and I can't wait to see how Immortal Verse performs in the this race against him. She's been terrifitc this year!
There's some very talented turf milers lining up for this year's G1 Q.E.II Stakes at Royal-Ascot on Saturday. Some of which we may see at Churchill Downs next month in the BC Mile. I.E., Immortal Verse and Excelebration. But for as good as these horses are. Frankel is just a freak of nature!! Or at least he's proven himself to be at a mile, anyway. Personally, I think the rest of the field are all running for second place money. I really don't expect to ever see Frankel really and truly tested until Sir Henry Cecil stretches him out to middle distances, 10f and beyond, next season. And with that Galileo pedigree, he may not even be tested then? JMO.

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Meet Dan Munn

Dan Munn is the Chief International Correspondent for Horse Racing Nation, covering the premier races from Europe as well as introducing and updating our readers on the very best of African, Asian and Australasian thoroughbred competition.

Based in England, Dan became a regular contributor to Horse Racing Nation in 2012 and continues to bring us the most up to date news from Europe with some exclusive interviews and answers to the questions we all want to ask along the way.