x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Favourite Frankel leaves all trailing at Newmarket

Last year's joint-champion juvenile led virtually from when the gates opened and was never headed, winning by an easy six lengths.

Frankel, right, leaves the rest of the pack well behind on his way to 2000 Guineas success yesterday.
Frankel, right, leaves the rest of the pack well behind on his way to 2000 Guineas success yesterday.

NEWMARKET, England // Frankel ended a 35-year wait for Henry Cecil in the 2000 Guineas yesterday, putting in a sublime performance of power and majesty to take the first British Classic of the season.

Last year's joint-champion juvenile led virtually from when the gates opened and was never headed, winning by an easy six lengths.

Cecil had hinted earlier in the week that Frankel could force the pace and so it proved, with jockey Tom Queally and his mount a full 15 lengths ahead with 400 metres to go before Native Khan and Dubawi Gold managed to close the gap to take second and third, respectively.

The Godolphin horses Casamento and Saamidd finished 10th and 12th.

"I thought it was possible to do," Cecil said of the tactical masterstroke. "It worked out exactly as I wanted it and how I had planned it."

Cecil, who last saddled a 2,000 Guineas winner in 1976 with Wollow, hinted that the Dante Stakes at York on May 12 over 2,000m was still on the agenda but refused to discuss whether his star three-year-old would contest the Derby at Epsom, run over 2,400m, on the first Saturday of June.

The 10-time champion trainer has talked often of sending Frankel to the 1,600m St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and will decide after he has spoken to Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the owner, and his racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe. "Obviously if he runs very well in the Dante we will know where we are going," Cecil said.

"I can easily bring him back a couple of lengths for Ascot after that.

"We will leave it completely open and do the right thing for the horse. Let him do the talking."

Frankel came into the race having made his seasonal reappearance in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury earlier this month. In that contest he took time to settle before he asserted himself at the finish.

From that performance Cecil and Queally deduced that they were restricting the son of Galileo and sought about hatching a plan to make use of his latent talent.

Frankel has a remarkably long stride and it was clear yesterday that once he started to move fluidly there are few thoroughbreds who can live with his athletic gait. It was thought that Rerouted, also in the ownership of Prince Abdullah, would help to force the pace but after a few metres it was clear that Frankel would not be held back.

So assured a performance was it that Queally had time halfway through the race to take a glance through his legs to see Frankie Dettori rousting along his mount Casamento.

"The way I rode him was planned and I decided to go on after the first 50 yards," Queally said. "I looked back and saw there was a good gap between them and us so I had a breather and then went on again.

"I know this horse well and you know what you have left in the tank. I was amazed how far clear he was. It was so easy.

"I thought at Newbury last time that he was losing lengths by being pulled around and I said to Henry that if he jumped off and made all then he would have won a lot more easily."

Dettori tried to give chase after a furlong but once his mount faded he had nothing but admiration for the 203rd Guineas winner.

"It was a superb race," said the Italian jockey. "I tried to go after Frankel and killed our chances. Casamento is a middle-distance horse and the pace was simply too hot for him to handle.

"Basically, Frankel got everybody out of their comfort zone. He's a superstar."

Mahmood al Zarooni, the Godolphin trainer, said Casamento would run again before Epsom. "The way they raced Frankel was so different, it confused all the jockeys," al Zarooni said. "In the circumstances I was happy with Casamento's run."

 

sports@thenational.ae