Photo: Emma-Louise Kerwin/Goodtosoft.co.uk
Saying thanks, but no thanks to much hoped for races either in America of France, It was announced this morning that the “best horse in the world” would be staying in England for his next and likely final race. Frankel will will be pointed for the 1 ¼ mile Champion Stakes on October 20 according to a press release from the stable’s racing manager Lord Teddy Grimthorpe. The Group 1 race at Ascot was always on the connections radar, but race fans were hoping for something a little more outside the box after the son of Galileo’s electrifying victory in the 1 5/16-mile Juddmonte International earlier this month. Grimthorpe said the choice was made “following discussions with [trainer] Sir Henry Cecil.”
Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Frankel has thrilled the racing world with 13 consecutive victories to begin his career. Most of them have come in Group 1 company, and have been won with devastating ease. Never has Frankel’s stock been higher than since his last win, in which he not only beat world-class horses by seven lengths, but he did it in a race much farther than his previous distance barrier of one mile. It seemed now may be the time to send Frankel to America for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, or perhaps more likely, a trip across the English Channel for the 12 furlong Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, still considered the world’s most prestigious turf race. We now know the answer to be no.
While certainly understandable that his connections wish to keep Frankel at home, and at a distance and on a surface they know he can handle, the sporting side of most of the racing world was looking for something more for the horse that many have on their short list of greatest racehorses to ever live.
Frankel will undoubtedly be a prohibitive favorite to win the Champion and likely will win once again for fun to keep his record unblemished in 14 career starts, but I have to wonder if his team have not shortchanged his greatness just a little by not giving him an ultimate challenge while he is still clearly in the peak of his wonderful career.
Frankel in the Breeders’ Cup Classic or Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe … Now that would have been fun to see!