Frankel can crown season in QEII

Cecil colt the perfect medium to heal sport's self-inflicted wounds on Champions Day

Well, it is not as if Frankel's rider has ever had any real need of a whip. And if ever the sport needed reminding that its greatest blessing is the unadorned glory of a champion thoroughbred, it will be when this paragon lines up for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot today.

For if Frankel can efface the scandalous self-harm perpetrated by the racing authorities this week, he will surpass all the challenges he has hitherto met with such messianic flair.

Even as it was, we had already reached the stage in this colt's immaculate career where the stakes had come to seem unbearably high. But remember that it was in only in her first defeat that Zenyatta, the great American mare, truly completed her legend when bowing out at the Breeders' Cup last year. No doubt Frankel will some day be set too tall an order – through the way a race is run, or simply through the demands made by a change of distance or surface. And he will be no less an animal for that. It is just that it would be pretty surprising were he to reach that crisis today.

It is true that three-year-olds who have been on the go since the spring can reach the bottom of the tank quite quickly at this time of year. But Frankel (3.35) has had 11 weeks off since the Sussex Stakes, and his masterly trainer will have freshened up both the colt's mind and his magnificent body.

At the odds, admittedly, only a reckless punter could be wholly complacent about Immortal Verse, who outpaced a really deep field – headed by Goldikova herself – at Deauville in August. It remains to be seen, however, whether she is quite so effective on this firmer terrain. And while Excelebration has improved since the spring, the bottom line is that he has been left standing by Frankel in two previous encounters.

If this race turns into a lap of honour, then nobody will have any complaints. There seems little prospect of the same, anyhow, in a desperately competitive race for the Qipco Champion Stakes itself. The huge purse has seduced Snow Fairy and So You Think for a third consecutive match-up, after finishing third and fourth respectively in the Arc just 13 days ago. So You Think was left with too much to do, after being dropped out from a wide draw, but both horses had a hard race and will have to be every bit as resilient as their trainers protest to show their best so soon afterwards. Nathaniel must raise his game, dropped in trip on fast ground, and it may yet prove that the race conforms to the trends established in its old home at Newmarket – where you were often best off with a fresh horse, or a French one. Dubai Prince qualifies as the former, albeit with a very tricky draw for an inexperienced horse; but Cirrus Des Aigles (4.10) looks solid value as the latter, with Christophe Soumillon taking over. After a 10-length romp at Deauville, he led travelling well at Longchamp last time but was just worried out of it by a smart one receiving 4lb.

Fame And Glory returns to the scene of his Gold Cup success in the opener, but his fortunes since are in marked contrast to those of the upwardly mobile Times Up (1.50), while Deacon Blues (2.25) looks another rising star in a very different discipline. Vita Nova, meanwhile, has obvious prospects of boosting morale for Frankel's trainer and jockey, but Banimpire (3.00) may be underestimated, restored to this trip after returning from a break last time.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Banimpire (3.00 Ascot)

Recent Longchamp form gives her every chance but a break in her hectic schedule beforehand means this Bolger filly could even improve for the run back over her best trip.

Next Best

Deacon Blues (2.25 Ascot)

Much his toughest task to date but the way his form has taken off means that he must be persevered with now at any level, until beaten.

One To Watch

Dissent (Gerard Butler) burst clear more or less under his own steam at Kempton on Wednesday and, having not beaten much on paper, can hardly be given too stiff a handicap.

Where the money's going

William Hill offer 3-1 against Frankel retiring unbeaten, and 16-1 that So You Think can win both the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot today and the Breeders' Cup Classic three weeks later.

Voices
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
newsHad asteroid hit earlier or later in history, the creatures might have survived, say scientists
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Urgently looking for Qualified Teachers and NQT's

£110 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Urgently looking for Quali...

Year 5 Teacher

£21000 - £32000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 Teacher Would yo...

Teacher

£100 - £120 per day + key stage 1, key stage 2: Randstad Education Chelmsford:...

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried