x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Imperious Frankel wins Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

The Sir Henry Cecil-trained colt, officially rated the best horse in the world, extends his unbeaten record to nine at Ascot.

Frankel, left, ridden by Tom Queally wins the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
Frankel, left, ridden by Tom Queally wins the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

ASCOT// Frankel confirmed his status as the world’s best thoroughbred with a commanding performance in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Such was the expectation of a monumental run from Sir Henry Cecil's three year old that the Queen of England turned up to watch the contest that shares her name.

It took 99.45 seconds for Frankel to cover the mile straight here, and the crowd offered a standing ovation as he strode clear to beat Excelebration by four lengths. The French raider, Immortal Verse, was third.

"Many people tell me that Frankel is the best horse that they have seen and I am glad to have such a horse," Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the owner, said.

"I was expecting this performance today, and I am just hoping that he will do the same next year."

It will be a long winter. Frankel will now be put away until next season, and will be campaigned in 2012 with the ultimate aim to win at the Breeders' Cup in Santa Anita.

"It’s been a long year and he has done everything I have asked of him," Cecil said. "I am really looking forward to have the winter over him and next year. He is a star to the public and everyone in the racing fraternity.

"As long as he stays right there is every chance that he will improve and, as next year goes on, he could be even more effective at a mile and a quarter."

Frankel was allowed the luxury of a pace-maker in stablemate Bullet Train.

The former Group 3 winner dragged the field along but appeared to be ignored by the other jockeys as he built up a lead of around five lengths at the halfway stage.

It was a scenario that had been repeated often on the all-weather gallops of Newmarket throughout the summer and like clockwork Frankel joined Bullet Train at the two-furlong pole.

Tom Queally, the jockey, remained virtually motionless for the next 100 metres before two quick taps with his whip concentrated the mind of his partner. Queally had only hit Frankel 11 times during his career but when history beckoned the pair bounded in to the pantheon of racing immortality.

All that was left was for Excelebration and Immortal Verse to underline the quality of the performance. Now, in his unbeaten nine-race career, Frankel has claimed the scalp of horses that have registered 25 Group 1 victories between them. And, according to Cecil, he may not have even been at his best.

"He was just doing enough. We weren't trying to catch pigs or anything we just wanted to win the race. It's lovely. The response of the crowd is fantastic. I was nervous, as there is no such thing as a certainty but you will see a better horse next year."

Frankel's victory in the Sussex Stakes over Canford Cliffs in July dared everyone to dream that this was one of the best horses that they had laid eyes on, but yesterday's performance set it in stone.

"He really is the best trainer,” Abdullah, said of Cecil. "When he says something I believe him."

Now, we all must.