Sadly it already seems certain that Frankel will end his career without exploring the full reach of his talent, but at least nobody will be able to reproach those responsible for their approach to his next start. For not only will they finally test their champion over a new distance at York next Wednesday; they also intend to expose one of their most cherished servants to his merciless brilliance.
Twice Over is perhaps not quite the force of old, at seven, but he ran well when third in the Eclipse last time and did turn over a better fancied stablemate, Midday, in the Juddmonte International Stakes last year.
As racing manager to Prince Khalid Abdulla, Lord Grimthorpe would hate to see Frankel surrender his unbeaten record; as chairman of York racecourse, however, he hopes for as competitive a field as possible. "And why wouldn't we support the race with the defending champion?" he asked yesterday.
With Aidan O'Brien saddling the seasoned Group One operator, St Nicholas Abbey, the participation of Twice Over should ensure a little more depth to this race than Frankel's latest lap of honour, at Goodwood. "It is wonderful to take Frankel to York, and I'm confident the Yorkshire crowd will come to see him," Grimthorpe said. "When I was there last time people were stopping me all the time saying: 'You are bringing him, aren't you?' This is Prince Khalid's 22nd year of sponsoring the Juddmonte International, so to bring Frankel to the race is hugely important to him. This year it has been foremost in our thoughts. Frankel has proved himself versatile as regards tracks. And York is a tremendously fair track."
He would say that, of course – but corroboration was immediately available from Simon Crisford. The Godolphin manager expects Encke, caught out by the undulations when foiled narrowly by Frankel's brother, Noble Mission, in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood, to relish the wide, galloping acres of the Knavesmire when they meet again in the Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur Stakes. Grimthorpe, however, reckons that Noble Mission may have been in front too soon that day.
Crisford, who added that Farrh, the Sussex Stakes runner-up, could yet follow Frankel north, confirmed that Energizer will be supplemented to the Great Voltigeur. It will be the German recruit's first start for Godolphin, and his first over a mile and a half, having changed hands since his impressive breakthrough at Royal Ascot.
Kalk Bay (4.25 Beverley) Had slipped down the weights before retrieving form for Mick Easterby.
First Serve (5.45 Southwell) David Barron's, juveniles do especially well on this surface.
One to watch
Cape Classic (William Haggas) Can definitely stay ahead of the handicapper judging by way he was travelling at Newmarket.Reuse content