Racing Heroes: Frankel
Frankel took Whistlejacket’s breath away, so it was an easy choice for the Racing Heroes series
Sometimes, when you watch racing, words seem inadequate and that’s the case with Frankel.
I have just watched his 14 victories, from his facile maiden success as a two-year-old to his classy yet tough performance in the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October 2012, and I can tell you it still fair takes the breath away.
I was lucky to see a lot of those wins and apart from the majestic way he won almost all of those races, what I liked was that he was, as a racehorse, the sport’s equivalent of those sporting greats such as Muhammad Ali, Pele, Senna, Federer and a few others.
Betting was not important, we just came to marvel and hope for an amazing performance and thanks to Sir Henry Cecil’s immaculate preparation, we were never disappointed.
He nearly got beaten in the St James’ Palace Stakes, but that was down to the pacemaker not being able to fulfil his role as required, and Tom Queally being left in front too early. But otherwise he was untouchable and he could battle as well, which was shown in that great tussle with Cirrus des Aigles in his final race.
I suppose his greatest performance was probably the Juddmonte at York where he tackled 10 furlongs for the first time and blew away a high-class field with instant acceleration.
But the race which for me lives longest in the memory is the amazing victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. The commentator couldn’t believe it (“Frankel is fifteen lengths clear“), the crowd couldn’t believe it, the jockeys in his slipstream couldn’t believe it. Perhaps the only two people who did believe were the trainer and the horse himself.
Put in their place
But spare a thought for the horses behind him. Horses such as Excelebration, Farhh, Nathaniel and Cirrus des Aigles, true champions all, were despatched and put in their place by this amazing racehorse.
Some people questioned at the time whether he should have gone abroad to the Breeders Cup, had a go at the Arc, or duel with Black Caviar over six furlongs. Personally, I think he would have been a shoo-in for the July Cup, given his amazing speed and acceleration. But in the end, none of that speculation matters.
We saw perfection, and you can’t get any better than that!
♦ FIRST CLASS FRANKEL is an ink water colour with Royal Mail stamps by Elizabeth Armstrong and is available in a limited edition print from www.elizabetharmstrong.co.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Racing Heroes series
Lester Piggott http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3Yo
Kieren Fallon http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3Ua
The Aga Khan http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3SB
Best Mate and Kauto Star http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3Rk
Persian Punch http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3Px
Sir Peter O’Sullevan http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3NB