Brilliant Frankel leads Cecil domination

A not fully-fit Frankel was still far too good for the opposition as Henry Cecil's budding superstar made a more than satisfactory start to his season in the totesport.com Greenham Stakes at Newbury today.

A not fully-fit Frankel was still far too good for the opposition as Henry Cecil's budding superstar made a more than satisfactory start to his season in the totesport.com Greenham Stakes at Newbury today.

Expectation ahead of the crucial Qipco 2000 Guineas trial was perhaps as great as when Celtic Swing reappeared in 1995 after enjoying a similarly startling two-year-old campaign.

Lady Herries' colt was not able to quite catch Pennekamp at Newmarket that year but there will be a greater degree of surprise if Frankel cannot manage a step better as he was cut to around 4-6 following his four-length success.

Frankel was headstrong in each of his four victories last year culminating in the Dewhurst at Newmarket, and he was again eager to get on with things with his pacemaker Picture Editor hardly stretching the six-runner field.

The 1-4 favourite briefly tilted his head to one side when Tom Queally began to ask him for an effort but the response was unrivalled and by the line he was still stretching away from Excelebration, who had stuck with him to the furlong marker.

"This will have taught him something," said Cecil.

"I said beforehand that whatever he did today, he would come on for it, and he has had a good blow.

"Hopefully he will be spot-on for the Guineas."

It was Cecil's first winner of the new season after a few blows for well-touted maidens earlier in the week and Frankel must now emulate Wollow, who took Cecil's last 2000 Guineas back in 1976.

Incidentally, he was the first of what are now six Cecil victories in the Greenham.

"If you don't get nervous, you might as well pack it in," he added.

"They didn't go enough of a pace early on, but he did everything I asked and I'm satisfied. Tom said the hardest thing he had to do was pull him up.

"I haven't dared work him on the grass as it has been too fast and he has done everything on the all-weather.

"Tom said he felt 80% today. Hopefully after two or three more pieces of work in the build-up to the Guineas he'll be much nearer 100%. I couldn't have done any more than I have in his build-up anyway."

Queally added: "He did it well, I think it's fair to say our pacemaker wasn't quick enough, but he did it nicely.

"I gave him one or two smacks as he will probably get one the next day. He relaxed fine, dropped the bit and when I gave him a bit of rein he did it well.

"It's his first run and he's entitled to improve a great deal from that, and if he does he will go to the Guineas with a great chance."

Marco Botti looks to have found himself a smart one in Excelebration, who won at Newmarket and Doncaster last summer.

"We all know about Frankel and that wasn't a disgrace for sure," he beamed.

"For me, our horse is best at seven furlongs and I'll have to decide whether we go for the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, or he is entered in the German Guineas."

The only disappointment was Richard Hannon's 9-2 second-favourite Strong Suit, who ran tamely to finish last.

A decision has not been made as to whether Frankel will head to the Investec Derby - where he is also a hot favourite - but Cecil and owner Prince Khalid Abdullah now have another fascinating candidate.

World Domination (3-1) was one for the Newmarket grapevine and ran right away with the totesport 0800 221 221 Maiden Stakes.

Interestingly, Cecil's Commander In Chief beat his odds-on favourite stablemate Tenby at Epsom in 1993 having also made his racecourse debut at three.

Cecil said: "He will come on a lot, but he is more grown up than I expected. He travelled through the race like an old handicapper.

"I said to the Prince at the last (supplementary) stage that we should put him in the Derby, just in case he was a Derby or a King Edward VII horse.

"I'm not sure what I will do with him, he needs another race and we will have to see whether I go for one of the Derby trials or maybe take him to Newmarket for a trial.

"I did it with Commander In Chief and we will see how he progresses.

"He had back problems last year and I couldn't get a run into him, so to win first time out was quite impressive."

Cecil's Solar Sky also ran with great promise to finish just under four lengths adrift in second and "wants a trip" according to his trainer.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox