Blistering Frankel scorches away from York rivals

Unbeaten champion takes step up to 10 furlongs in stride amid jubilant scenes

The Knavesmire, York

One of the constables deputed to shepherd him towards the saddling boxes looked up and saw Frankel being led out of the pre-parade ring. "Now," he muttered to his colleague. "Here comes Seabiscuit."

Never again be deceived by the trite consensus that only hoary old steeplechasers ever stick around long enough to find a meaningful niche in the hearts of the racing public. During the previous race, which happened to be the main trial for the season's final Classic, not one of the hundreds who had staked out a few square inches round the pre-parade ring, saddling area and paddock was prepared to forfeit his or her precious portion of Yorkshire. They stood so deep, their backs to a gripping finish out on the track, that most could only mark Frankel's progress by the cameras and cellphones rising sequentially aloft, like flowers opening before the sun.

Those who did glimpse him could testify that the burnished champion indeed exuded an almost solar brilliance. And those mortal creatures who dared to stand in his path, as he sought his first win beyond a mile, were duly left scorched and blackened in his wake. Frankel ran away with the Juddmonte International Stakes in much the same fashion that he had won a dozen previous starts – the last eight now Group Ones, a record sequence – plainly a class apart from any thoroughbred on earth, not to mention, or so the suspicion grows, most past paragons whose bones now rest in its soil.

Relief surged through the crowd. This had been one of those rare sporting occasions when everyone wanted only ceremony, not competition. John Magnier, the Coolmore boss, even sought out Lord Grimthorpe – racing manager to Frankel's owner, Khaled Abdulla – to advise their intentions for St Nicholas Abbey and his two pacemakers, and to assure him that there would be "no funny business" to thwart the favourite.

Onlookers had been aghast at the emaciation of Sir Henry Cecil, whose six-year struggle with cancer had prevented him getting to Goodwood for his champion's previous start. Horse and trainer alike have become so precious that anticipation was laced with dread. Sure enough, when Tom Queally allowed Frankel to amble from the rear to join St Nicholas Abbey, halfway up the straight, an exuberant roar swelled through the stands – which housed a crowd up 50 per cent on last year, to more than 30,000. Children were hoisted upon shoulders, perplexed witnesses to proceedings that might some day be recalled with boastful clarity. And Frankel came bounding clear, under hands and heels, to see off Farhh by seven lengths, the latter in turn just holding St Nicholas Abbey. Farhh's rider, Frankie Dettori, returned grinning and shaking his head, re-enacting his fruitless shoving in pursuit of the invincible.

Cecil and Frankel were each accorded three raucous cheers in the winner's enclosure. His throat weak, Cecil whispered gratitude. "That was great, wasn't it?" he asked. "Great for Yorkshire – they love their racing, and they deserve to see him." The whole thing, he avowed, made him feel "20 years better".

In some, however, the euphoria will have a bittersweet edge. Could anyone sensibly suggest, now, that another 352 yards in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe might represent a reckless gamble with Frankel's potency? Greatness suffuses Frankel's every step, but Cecil has been reluctant to measure it in ways better calculated to quantify his ultimate standing in the Turf pantheon. This was almost certainly Frankel's penultimate start, and the chances are that he will complete his career at Ascot on 20 October – condemned, thereby, to two months of idleness and an eternity, for every other racing nation, as some parochial mystery of the British Turf.

Grimthorpe did not wholly dismiss the Arc, for which Frankel would have to be supplemented. "Henry didn't want to put him in the Arc, so obviously that would have to be discussed," he said. "That choice will be Prince Khaled's, but we'll have to see. The plan was always Ascot, and it's just a question of how he comes out and where we go from there."

He reiterated that Santa Anita's decision to restore dirt, after an experiment with a synthetic surface, had always counted against a swansong at the Breeders' Cup – though he acknowledged the appeal of taking the colt named in his memory to the old stamping ground of the late trainer Bobby Frankel. "Prince Khaled loves the Breeders' Cup and we'd love to take Frankel to Santa Anita, Bobby's hometown," he said. "The emotional ties would be just too fantastic. But unfortunately maybe the right race is not there. We're not going to take him on dirt first time around."

Going for the Arc, of course, would open up the possibility of the Breeders' Cup Turf instead. But Queally sagely cautioned against any counsel that implied ingratitude to those who have shown such mastery in bringing Frankel even this far. "People are very fast to look at a racecard and say he should win," Queally said. "It's not easy to get any horse to the races and win every time. Years have gone into this horse, from a lot of people all the way back to those who brought him into the world on day one."

Sponsored as it is by the same Juddmonte Farms, where they reared their own champion, this race has long been a special target for Abdulla's team. "You get so spoilt," Grimthorpe said. "I don't want to sound arrogant, but the expectations every time he runs are just enormous – and it's fantastic the way he keeps delivering, time after time. But that's Frankel. I have never seen anything like it."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Ladyship (4.50 York)

Next best

Crown Counsel (3.05 York)

Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice