News

Back to articles

Frankel will face a maximum of nine opponents for his date with destiny

10 Oct 2011

The Sir Henry Cecil-trained wonder horse, seeking to take his career record to nine wins out of nine, was one of ten horses confirmed today for the richest mile race ever run in Europe, the £1m Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Frankel, seen here annihilating the opposition in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, faces his toughest assignment yet on QIPCO British Champions Day.  Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Frankel will start a red-hot favourite in the fourth race on QIPCO British Champions Day, the £1m Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO at 3.35pm on Saturday, by the far the most valuable mile race ever run in Europe.

The brilliant winner of his eight races to date – four last year and four this – the Sir Henry Cecil-trained colt will face a maximum of nine opponents after today’s five-day confirmations were revealed.  The final field for the race which will be run up Ascot’s straight mile will be known on Thursday morning.

After a straightforward victory over Excelebration in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury in mid-April, he destroyed his rivals with an awesome front-running performance in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at the end of that month.

Next stop was the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, when he surged to the front before the final turn into the straight and, having gone clear, ended up scrambling home by just three-quarters of a length in a race which Cecil later described as a "disaster".

There were no such problems in his most recent start in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in July, when he thrashed the now retired Canford Cliffs by an easy five lengths.

Now he is set to come up against two other fast improving three-year-olds – the best miler in France, Immortal Verse, who won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Prix Jacques Le Marois (beating Goldikova) in her last two starts, and the brilliant Excelebration, who has blossomed in recent weeks and won the Prix Du Moulin at Longchamp on his latest start for trainer Marco Botti.

The Richard Hannon-trained pair of Dick Turpin and Dubawi Gold, the Godolphin duo of Poet’s Voice (also confirmed for the QIPCO Champion Stakes) and Rio De La Plata, the Roger Charlton-trained Cityscape, the Andrew Balding-trained Side Glance and Frankel’s lead horse, Bullet Train, were the other confirmations in a race that no racing or sports fan can afford to miss.

Sir Henry Cecil said today: “I think I’ve read more about him (Frankel) than I’ve ever said – what more is there to say?

“He was not easy early on but has grown up a lot and has improved physically. He has been going really well (on the gallops).

“I also run Bullet Train. It could help me and it could also help everyone else too.

"Frankel could take up the running at a certain time but we haven’t decided one, two or three things yet.

“I don’t want it to be a crawl and then turn into a sprint. It will depend on how the race is run as to whether it plays to Frankel’s speed or stamina.

“Bullet Train should make it a true run race. He will not go off like hell in front but is there if we need him.

“Frankel is still an improving horse. Hopefully it will be a nicely run race and he will do what we expect.

“It is important for racing have real champions. Sea The Stars, Arkle, Mill Reef and Desert Orchid – you don’t have to be an enthusiast to have heard of them.

“I hope Frankel can be a champion. I still think he will be a better horse next year.

“I think whether he runs on a straight course or round a bend doesn’t matter. Let’s let the horse do the talking.

“I respect Excelebration and Immortal Verse.

"Marco’s horse (Excelebration) has improved and I think Immortal Verse won nicely last time, when she beat Goldikova.”

Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, said: "Poet’s Voice also has an entry in the QIPCO Champion Stakes and he has been a little bit disappointing this year as against the form he showed last season.

"But with each race this season he seems to have improved. He is doing well at the moment and now we have got to weigh which is the best race for him.

"I think we will leave the decision as late as possible. Poet’s Voice does seem to be coming back to something nearing his best while Rio De La Plata has run well all year."

Marco Botti said today during a media visit to his Newmarket stable: "We are hoping to close the gap with Frankel – whether we will be good enough to beat him, who knows.

"I am aware it is a difficult task, but that’s racing. In another era without Frankel, we could have been the best miler in Europe.

"It is still nice to have the chance to take on the best horse in the world. For a young trainer, it is very important to have a good horse that can be part of a big meeting.

"I have heard good things about Frankel. He has had a break since Goodwood and is going to be difficult to beat.

"If Sir Henry Cecil says Frankel is the best horse he has had, then it’s scary!

"I can’t see any weaknesses in Frankel and it will be no disgrace to finish second to him again."

For the full race details and entries, CLICK HERE.