YORK, England // Frankel confirmed his status as the greatest living thoroughbred with success in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York today.
It was the first time Frankel had run over a distance farther than a mile but the result was similar to his previous 12 starts as he put Godolphin’s Farhh and St Nicholas Abbey to the sword under Tom Queally, his regular partner.
The value of Frankel’s seven-length procession was cemented by the presence in fourth of Twice Over, last year’s winner who is also trained by Sir Henry Cecil.
“I have ridden him from day one and he never had a smack as a two year old. I think anyone in the weighing room would have won on him,” Queally said. “I just tried to get him to relax and he was relaxed all the way. There was no funny business and the best horse won comprehensively.”
It was always thought that Frankel’s end-of-year target was to be the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 20 over ten furlongs. Yet the facile nature of his latest triumph has tantalisingly opened up the possibility that the son of Galileo could run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe a fortnight beforehand.
Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia certainly did not rule out the possibility of running in the race that he has won four times with Rainbow Quest, Dancing Brave, Rail Link and most recently, Workforce. “I will discuss things with Henry and it depends on what he wants to do,” Prince Abdullah said of the 12-furlong Group 1 contest. “I didn’t think a mile and a quarter was a problem, but further than that, I’m not sure.”
Both Prince Abdullah and Cecil missed Frankel’s previous performance when he brushed aside Farhh in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood this month.
Every effort had been made to get the pair to the Knavesmire and the trainer was wearing a blue hat as he recovers from his on-going treatment for cancer.
Although Cecil failed to make it a perfect day for his staunch patron when Noble Mission could only finish fourth to Throught Worthy in the Great Voltigeur Stakes beforehand, Prince Abdullah was in awe of his trainer’s meticulous preparation of his flag-bearer. “He is a very good trainer and I’m glad I sent this horse to him,” he added. “Today he was exceptional and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
With three confirmed pacemakers it was a surprise that on a track which often favours prominent runners Queally took a pull as soon as the gates opened.
Frankel sat anchored to the rear of the field as Windsor Palace and Robin Hood set a searing pace for stablemate St Nicholas Abbey, who was one place ahead of Farhh in fifth. As the field entered York’s long straight Queally tracked over to the stands’ side. Frankel ranged up alongside St Nicholas Abbey two furlongs from home before sauntering clear.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had sportingly been keen to take on Frankel again despite the good to firm going but his trainer Saeed bin Suroor summed up neatly the situation Godolphin find themselves in. “My horse has tried very hard, but he has finished second again,” bin Suroor said.
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