Frankel about two weeks from new career as stallion

Frankel will be mated with the very best mares at his owner Khalid Abdullah’s Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket once he begins his new career as a stallion.

Frankel about two weeks from new career as stallion

Frankel will be mated with the very best mares at his owner Khalid Abdullah’s Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket once he begins his new career as a stallion.

The four-year-old colt ended his flawless racing days with a 14th victory in the Qipco Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday and will wind down at Henry Cecil’s stables until he is ready to make the short journey to his new home.

“Prince Khalid hasn’t really sat down and done the matings yet with Philip Mitchell (Juddmonte Farms general manager),” said the owner’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe.

“What we can say is that our very best mares, if they think they might be suited to Frankel, will certainly go there.

“We have liaised with Henry. Frankel will be let down now and the real point will be to get him to the stage when he’s relaxed and he’s going to get used to a different life.

“That will take a week or so, maybe longer, until everyone’s happy and then he’ll come over to Banstead.”

'Brilliant and totally deserved'

Grimthorpe reflected on what was an extraordinary day watched by a sell-out crowd at Ascot, plus millions of racing fans throughout the world.

“It was always going to be an interesting day, whatever the outcome,” he said. “When I’d walked the course I was much happier with the way the things were going to go. Going into the race, we were very happy.

“The way that everyone has reacted to Frankel, and to Henry, has been one of the great sporting stories of the year – if not many years.

“It was brilliant and totally deserved. I think a wide-margin victory was never really going to be on the cards with that sort of going. Of course, everyone would have loved to have seen it.

“We didn’t have many worries when he came into the straight and he was still travelling pretty well.

“Tom (Queally) held him together and I thought it was just a wonderful ride,” Grimthorpe told At The Races.

'He's like a painting'

Mitchell is excited at Frankel returning to his place of birth to take up his new role.

He said: “He’s just awesome, and we look forward to having him return to the place he was born. We’ll leave that (when he returns to Banstead) to Sir Henry. He will decide when he comes here.

“Sir Henry will probably give him a few days to let himself down, so it probably won’t be next week. It will probably be more likely the following week.

“Everyone seems to be talking about him being worth £100m, but that might be somewhat exaggerated.

“He’s like a painting. How do you value a horse which has never been seen before? I’d like to say we recognised him as a complete star as a foal and a yearling, but it never quite works out like that.

“Good horses almost go under the radar – they are never ill and always seem easier to deal with than other horses. Frankel certainly fell under that category.”

Mitchell felt Frankel retaining his unbeaten record was more relief than anything else.

“It wasn’t a case of celebration time on Saturday night, I think it was more a case of huge relief,” he said.

“It was a strange feeling at Ascot before he ran and it would have been awful if he had been beaten.

“He had won all of his races relatively easy, but I think at Ascot you saw something different from him – you saw his battling qualities.

“It was the ultimate day. It simply doesn’t get any better. It’s obviously fantastic, but behind the story is a lot sadness about Bobby (Frankel) and Sir Henry’s illness.

“If we can achieve half of what the horse has achieved and what Henry has achieved, then I think we’ll have done a very good job indeed.”

French trainer Corine Barande-Barbe, responsible for Champion Stakes runner-up Cirrus Des Aigles, said it was a privilege to have a horse good enough to be a worthy opponent to the mighty Frankel.

“I’m feeling great. It was an honour to meet Frankel and I am very proud of my gelding,” she said. “I think we brought Frankel an international line and he defeated a horse who won in Dubai, in Ascot and in Longchamp.

“It was a great day and it was just like a victory for us just to have the horse to make Frankel gallop.

“There are no regrets. We are proud to give the challenge and show our horse is now the best in the world when Frankel goes to stud.”

Ian Balding trained one of the best middle-distance colts in Mill Reef to win the Eclipse, Derby, King George and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

He considers Frankel to be probably the best horse ever but wonders what would happened if he had run over a mile and a half.

“It was fantastic and I was just thrilled to be there. It was a wonderful occasion and wonderful for racing,” he said.

“Mill Reef was the horse of a lifetime for me. This fellow is obviously Henry’s horse of a lifetime and he’s had more good horses than anyone. You can’t deny that Frankel must be pretty well the best we’ve ever seen.

“I would say that the other greats like Sea The Stars, Sea-Bird, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard – all of them have won at a mile and a half.

“It’s not Frankel’s fault he’s not been asked to run at that distance, but it just looked to me at Ascot just maybe he was at the end of his tether. I don’t think he’d have wanted to go much further, especially on that ground.”

More in this section


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

Sign up

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