Frankel in a world of his own

Dominic Gardiner-Hill believes Frankel is capable of taking his rating to even more astonishing levels after the British Horseracing Authority’s handicapper allotted the colt a mark of 138 for his victory in Saturday’s JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

The decision to raise him 2lb from last season’s 136 makes Frankel officially the highest-rated horse in the world for 25 years.

Prince Khalid Abdullah’s unbeaten and 10-time winner can only be trumped by the same owner’s Dancing Brave (141 in 1986), although the World Thoroughbred Rankings scale has been lowered slightly since that time.

Frankel leaves behind Peintre Celebre and Generous on 137 and Sea The Stars on 136.

Gardiner-Hill was no different to the entire racing community in being impressed by Frankel’s fourth and most clear-cut defeat of Excelebration as the son of Galileo brushed off any fears over a slightly interrupted preparation.

“I do think he can go higher,” said the handicapper.

“I watched the Lockinge again today and, to be honest, he did it very easily.

“To go higher he is going to have to beat something other than Excelebration, whether it is going to be a horse like Cirrus Des Aigles, we will have to wait and see.

“I do suspect he can be a 140-horse, it just depends if he gets the opportunity.”

Reflecting on his thinking over the mark of 138, which must first be ratified his international colleagues, Gardiner-Hill said: “I’m happy with the rating. My first reaction to the Lockinge was one of relief, as Frankel had confirmed what he had shown last season.

“It’s always a concern when you give ratings in the mid 130s that it might not work out for the horses as four-year-olds but I think there are valid reasons for saying this was his best performance yet.

“You only have the opportunity to push horses higher on what they beat, and if you look at Excelebration, Frankel beat him by four lengths on two occasions last year and by two and a quarter on another, and this went up to five lengths on Saturday.

“And in the case of Dubawi Gold, he was beaten by seven and three-quarter lengths in the QEII and this went up to nine on Saturday.

“One factor for this is the pace as I thought Ian Mongan set the race up perfectly on Bullet Train.

“I’m not blaming Ian Mongan’s riding at all on other occasions, but this was the first time that everything went spot-on for Frankel in terms of pace.”

Frankel will now be rated 6lb higher than the second-placed horse in the current international rankings, Australian sprinter Black Caviar (132), who is due to arrive in the UK next month for her first overseas test at Royal Ascot.

While Black Caviar heads for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, a run for Frankel in the Queen Anne Stakes at same meeting is the preference of Henry Cecil.

Speaking on his website, www.sirhenrycecil.com, the trainer said: “Over the last two seasons he has come on a good deal from his first race and hopefully he will do the same this season.

“He has strengthened and grown up a great deal mentally. All being well his next start will be at Ascot in either the Queen Anne or the Prince of Wales’s, the former being my first preference at the moment, but we will see.”

Meanwhile, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Danedream could make her first trip to Britain this summer after a winning return to action on Sunday.

Peter Schiergen’s four-year-old ran out a brilliant winner of Europe’s premier middle-distance contest last October, but failed to fire on her only subsequent start of 2011 in the Japan Cup.

She was back on-song on her seasonal return in her homeland of Germany, holding off her rivals comfortably despite tiring in the closing stages of the Grosser Preis Der Badischen Unternehmer at Baden-Baden.

The Lomitas filly could now return to France before making the cross-Channel journey for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July.

“I’m very happy as it was her first start after a break,” said Schiergen.

“She was not 100% – maybe she was only 80% – but thankfully she was fit enough and she should improve for the race.

“I am not sure what we will do next. I will have to talk with the owner.

“We have options in France and England. Maybe she could go for the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and then the King George at Ascot.

“We will give her the entries and then make some decisions.”


Lifestyle

A Spectacular 28.86-carat ring, the largest D-colour diamond ever offered online, will come up at Christie's Jewels in New York from June 16-30.High value diamond adds serious sparkle to online sale

A whiff of new normality is in the air, writes Des O'SullivanAntiques: How to put a post-lockdown world in the frame

Buy everything on Michelle Darmody’s list and create five meals.One List, Five Meals: Irish stew with a twist; Yellow Pepper Omelette

‘There are two of us, in it together’From Chestnut to Sage - how family food businesses, real labours of love, are coping with Covid

More From The Irish Examiner