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Frankel ridden by Tom Queally wins of the Qipco Champion Stakes from Cirrus Des Aigles.
Frankel ridden by Tom Queally wins of the Qipco Champion Stakes from Cirrus Des Aigles.
Image: PA Wire/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Simply the best: Frankel retires unbeaten after Champion Stakes win

In his last race, Henry Cecil’s superstar colt won by a length and three-quarters from Cirrus des Aigles.
Oct 20th 2012, 4:17 PM 4,089 6

IT WAS A fitting farewell for one of the all-time greats. Frankel made sure that he will never be forgotten with one last superstar performance to win the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Queen Elizabeth II was one of thousands who came in their droves to see Henry Cecil’s phenomenal colt in what looked certain to be his last race before retirement.

But on a day which started with fears that the soft ground might spoil a spectacle for the ages, it was horse-racing royalty that stuck to the script and made all of the headlines.

Sent off the unbackable 2/11 favourite in the hands of Waterford’s Tom Queally, Frankel defied the testing conditions to take his career record to a remarkable 14 wins from 14.

Second-favourite Cirrus des Aigles (9/2) chased home a length and three-quarters back with William Buick’s Nathaniel in third.

Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah confirmed that Frankel will now be retired as expected, BBC report, while Cecil paid the tribute that was on the lips of many.

“He’s the best I’ve ever had. He’s the best I’ve ever seen. I’d be very surprised if there has ever been better.”

With a fragile unbeaten record on the line — as well as millions of pounds in potential stud fees — there were concerns that Frankel might be pulled from the showpiece of Britain’s Champions Day rather than risk a run in less than ideal conditions.

If the world’s greatest horse felt the pressure of his biggest test yet, it didn’t show in the parade ring as he strode powerfully, confidently among his admirers.

It was that precocious relaxation which gave fans an early scare once the race got down to business. Frankel missed the start and found himself three lengths back in the early running.

But paced by stable mate Bullet Train, he gradually eased into the 1m2f contest and was set to strike from fourth place as the field entered the final straight.

Roared on by over 30,000 spectators, all willing him towards perfection, Queally urged Frankel to switch on the afterburners with a furlong to go and the sublime four-year-old pulled away from the gallant challenge of Cirrus des Aigles.

Asked afterwards how the soft ground had affected Frankel’s chances, Queally said: ”You never see a Formula 1 car winning on anything but tarmac.”

Profile: Quiet Irishman lets Frankel do the talking

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Niall Kelly


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