Frankel goes for a thorough practice run ahead of his planned outing in the Champion Stakes at Ascot, and Sir Henry Cecil answers questions about his own future to boot, writes Geoffrey Riddle.
Frankel, and Cecil, are just fine
NEWMARKET, ENGLAND // Sir Henry Cecil cut a defiant figure when he saddled Frankel for a public gallop along the Rowley Mile on Saturday.
Frankel went through his paces in a nine-furlong piece of work in preparation for next month's Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Cecil has been battling with a throat infection, a side effect of his treatment for cancer, and he refuted any suggestion that he was set to retire alongside his stable star at the end of the season.
"I'm fine. I read somewhere that I am going to retire. The only retiring I'm going to do is to have a good holiday," Cecil whispered hoarsely.
The trainer was last seen on a Group 1 British racecourse when Frankel won the Juddmonte International at York in August, when he required a walking stick. There was none such assistance yesterday as he went about his business, saddling Frankel last of his two work companions, Bullet Train and Specific Gravity.
The International was also the last time that Tom Queally had sat on the world's highest-rated thoroughbred, and after a stiff piece of work in front of a large crowd Frankel knew he had been given a thorough workout as he returned to rapturous applause.
"Frankel felt fine," Queally said. "That is exactly what we were looking for and he still has a bit of work to do. It's nice to get back on him."
Cecil and Frankel teamed up later in the afternoon with the well-regarded Beauty Parlour in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes.
The French 1,000 Guineas heroine could only finish seventh to Siyouma, the four-year-old trained by Francois Doumen and ridden by Gerald Mosse. Siyouma held off the late thrust of Elusive Kate, who stumbled badly at the start but made up significant ground to be denied by three quarters of a length under William Buick.
It was a fourth successive victory for fillies trained in France, following the hat-trick of wins by Saphresa in the mile contest. "She is the most satisfactory thing in the world," an understated Doumen said. "She is easy to train, has an easy temperament and is very calm. She won with something in hand."
Such was the ease of her victory that the daughter of Medicean could turn out quickly for the EP Taylor Stakes at Woodbine, Canada in two weeks.
Lucrative races in Hong Kong and Japan could also follow, although she has a preference for soft going.
"I was expecting the ground to be softer, which would have helped," Mosse said. "We have been lucky, however. She picked up really well and went to the line with a lot left."
Steeler, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed, outpointed Godolphin's Artigiano by breaking the track record in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes.
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