Frankel's gallops rider enjoys his day in the sun
Thursday 11 October 2012
For once, Tom Queally had the view of Frankel accorded to most other jockeys. The world's best racehorse continued his build-up to the Champion Stakes on Saturday week with a workout on the Rowley Mile in Newmarket yesterday morning. But his public partner's hands were not on his reins; the responsibility was left on this occasion to the colt's regular work rider, Shane Featherstonhaugh.
Instead, Queally rode Frankel's galloping companion Midsummer Sun, setting a strong, even pace for three-quarters of a mile. At which point Featherstonhaugh, who has guided and educated Khaled Abdullah's feisty equine celebrity behind the scenes through his three seasons, went past him and disappeared into the autumn sunrise.
"That was the first time I've ridden against him," Queally said, "and, from where I was, that looked as impressive as it has felt when I've done it to others. My horse was flat out and Frankel just skipped away. It was the same result as always but for me an interesting, different perspective and angle."
The superstar eventually eased down and pulled up 100 yards clear of his toiling Sir Henry Cecil stablemate, before being escorted by him on a wind-down mooch back across town to the sanctuary of his box at Warren Place.
Cecil was delighted with Frankel's showing and considers his charge as good, if not better, than ever. "As he's got older, he's got more sensible," the trainer said. "That means he's become easier to train, which in turn means he's a better horse for it. He could have gone back and done today's work again without turning a hair."
This may not be particularly good news either for any rivals lining up for a crack at Frankel, unbeaten in 13 races, in nine days' time or indeed for the racing public. The four-year-old will be an athlete who will leave the track in his absolute pomp, for the £1.3m Ascot showpiece is scheduled as his final run before he starts his second career, as a progenitor.
Frankel is rated a long way ahead of his likely opponents, headed by Cirrus des Aigles and Nathaniel. But the spanner in the works could be the weather, for any rain-induced underfoot extremes could leave the horse, who has no publicly stated alternative target, with an anticlimactic retirement. "He doesn't mind it easy underfoot and soft ground would be fine," added Cecil. "But heavy ground and we'd be in no man's land."
Such is the great horse's charisma that yesterday's spin, a mind-and-muscle sharpener away from day-to-day routine exercise, nonetheless drew an appreciative crowd of the sport's professionals, many of whom were in Newmarket for this week's elite yearling auction.
And the events in the Tattersalls sales ring were a reminder of the figures involved in the bloodstock business that services the sport, and why Frankel is potentially such a valuable commodity away from the racetrack. By yesterday evening, with another session of selling today, the catalogue – the cream of the commercial yearling crop – had generated turnover of some £40m. Yesterday the seven- figure barrier for an individual was breached for the first time during the week with the sale to the principal Coolmore partner John Magnier, for 1.3m guineas, of a filly by Frankel's sire, Galileo.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Beedee (7.20 Kempton) Found Epsom was sharp enough 11 days ago and returns to the scene of his victory earlier last month, with the extra furlong to travel surely no disadvantage.
Slipstream Angel (2.40 Ayr) Her most recent task against a subsequent Group winner was too much, but she is proven on soft ground and drops in class and distance with the help of first-time headgear.
Where the money's going
Moohaajim, 7-2 from 3-1 with Paddy Power, has been supported to reverse form with his Prix Morny conqueror Reckless Abandon in Saturday's Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
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