FRANKEL will command huge stud fees after cementing his position as the world’s greatest racehorse with his 14th and final victory at Ascot on Saturday.
For £100,000 per assignation the Turf’s most glamorous mares will now queue to meet Frankel, hailed as the greatest horse of them all, reports the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH.
For three hundred years breeders have plotted to create the perfect equine running machine.
”I can’t believe that in the history of racing there has ever been a better racehorse,” said Frankel’s trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, after his immaculate four-year-old colt had won the £1.30m Qipco Champion Stakes in front of The Queen and a sold-out 32,000 crowd.
Frankel heads for Banstead Manor Stud in Suffolk valued at £100m: a record for a thoroughbred. That figure is based on the number of breeders will to pay an estimated £100,000 each to fix up dates with the undefeated world champion of racing. They will hope that Frankel’s pulverising brilliance will make champions of his offspring.
But nobody expects to a see a better horse. Frankel won his first 13 races by a combined margin of 74.50 lengths but faced the toughest test of his career on rain-softened ground. The mile-and-a-quarter trip of the day’s feature event stretched his stamina to the limit but still Frankel cruised up alongside France’s Cirrus Des Aigles and quickened away to win by a length and three quarters.
Exultation was mixed with relief in the Ascot grandstands. Racing was desperate for one final flourish from a horse who has captured the wider public’s imagination in a way normally confined to great National Hunt horses such as Desert Orchid and Kauto Star. As one racing advert stresses, there have been only three certainties in life: “Death, taxes and Frankel.” All can still be relied upon.
More poignant even than the preservation of the horse’s blemish-free record was the spectacle of Sir Henry Cecil, Britain’s finest trainer, struggling for words to describe his pleasure at a time when cancer and chemotherapy have left him emaciated and hoarse. His 44-year career at Warren Place in Newmarket achieved its crowning glory with an emphatic final win for the 11-2 ON favourite.
“He didn’t like the ground today but he kicked into gear,” said Tom Queally, his jockey. “He didn’t bounce of the ground like he can. I gave him a crack [of the whip], which isn’t common, and off he powered. With his great lung capacity he’s got it all. He’s done so much for so many people. It’s a great story.”
From the moment of birth Frankel was special. His sire, Galileo, won the Derby and has fathered over 70 high-class colts and fillies. Vets believe his chest may house an unusually large heart, which, in average runner, can beat 240 times per minute and pump at least 85 pints of blood around the body.
His huge stride of 22-feet at full speed helped him cover Ascot’s softened ground (the average is 20-21 feet), though he is unlikely to have matched his top speed of 43mph, clocked at Goodwood this summer. Usain Bolt covers the 200m in around 19 seconds. Frankel can do it in 11. In Henry Cecil’s Newmarket yard he stoked his engine with 23lbs per day of Canadian oats: the equivalent of 600 Weetabix.
Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to the victorious owner, Khalid Abdulla, said Frankel will return to Cecil’s Newmarket yard to be “let down” – or decommissioned, in athletic terms. “Obviously he’s been at a high-octane level and there’ll be a gradual letting down process.” Abdulla, who will send some of his own mares to Frankel, must now calculate the correct fee, but £100,000 is the one quoted by most experts.
“The stud managers are going to have some fun making some pretty interesting bookings.” Grimthorpe said. “We’ve had worldwide interest – and I mean every corner. What he’s achieved has taken the sport to new dimensions in terms of a wider audience. The greatest thing is that he’s excited people. People tell me their children shout ‘Frankel, Frankel,’ at the television every time they see a horse.” He called Cecil “the master of his profession.”
“It’s been a million to one shot to get this opportunity.” Queally said. Inevitably Frankel’s retirement will leave a void on the Flat that owners and trainers will now struggle to fill. Officially the best horse in modern history is the 1986 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Dancing Brave (also owned by Abdulla), but the mathematical calculation behind that ranking is less important than the brilliance of Frankel’s victories and his unbeaten record.
The highest grade of Flat race is Group 1 and Frankel won 10 of those – nine in a row. He edges ahead of great champions such as Sea Bird, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard and Sea The Stars. Grimpthorpe called him “the ultimate equine athlete” and said: “He has brought the sport from the back pages of the papers to the front. Hopefully the new generation of interest he has spawned will be a fantastic legacy.”
Whatever the long-term benefits racegoers will always remember the beauty of his movement, his tremendous power and his capacity not just to beat but destroy the best of his era. He was a champion at two, three and four-years-old. As heavy rain fell on Ascot on Friday spirits sank. Frankel might not run, or could sink in the ground. But no barrier could stop him. The wonder horse galloped out on top.