Glory for Frankel as the world’s greatest bows out in style
20 Oct 2012
Frankel made it 14 out of 14 this afternoon in the biggest and toughest race of his career, winning the QIPCO Champion Stakes and causing a roar that almost brought down the Ascot grandstand!
Frankel basks in glory after his final victory on QIPCO British Champions Day. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.
Never before has Ascot witnessed scenes like it as Frankel, the wonder horse who has done more to raise the profile of Flat racing in Britain than anything that has gone before, returned from the track to a hero’s welcome in front of a capacity crowd.
Everyone held their breath at the start of the race when Frankel was very slow out of the stalls, but the roar when he hit the front with a furlong to run nearly brought the house down.
He had to fight harder than he has done in his career before to master the French star, Cirrus des Aigles, but he got the job done in style.
This was Cirrus des Aigles’ and Nathaniel’s favoured ground and Frankel’s jockey, Tom Queally, said afterwards that his mount did not appreciate the very soft going.
But like the champion that he is, he still won.
The margin of victory was a length and three-quarters, with two and half lengths back to Nathaniel in third and three and half back to the German Derby winner, Pastorius, in fourth.
Frankel’s parade down the course and return to the winner’s enclosure was hugely emotional, with many people in tears.
He did two laps of honour round the parade ring to thunderous applause as a video played the great moments from his amazing career.
Afterwards it was confirmed that this was his last ever race and he will now go to stud, hopefully to pass on his genes to a new generation of superstars in the future.
His trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, said: "He’s the best I’ve ever had. He’s the best I’ve ever seen. I’d be surprised if there’s ever been any better."
Queally said: "He’s just getting more and more relaxed as time goes on.
"He waited until the gates were open then he was away.
"I was happy all the way but there’s no doubt he’s better on better ground. His class showed today.
"I walked the track and I was a little worried about the conditions.
"Having walked it in the home straight I knew it wasn’t too heavy for him to quicken up.
"You want every angle covered and everything in your favour, so in that respect there was always a little worry, but he was in great heart today and he looked a lot better than he did 12 months ago on this day.
"He was so good today, even on that ground."
It was the perfect end to Britain’s richest raceday amongst scenes that Flat racing has never witnessed before.
It was also the perfect end to the second year of the QIPCO British Champions Series, over which Frankel has reigned supreme – he has won nine Series races while no other horse has managed more than two.
We will miss him, but it has been privilege to watch him race.
We will probably never see his like again.