English three year old Frankel has confirmed his status as the best horse in the world with an all the way win the Group One Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
There was a school of thought that Frankel would struggle in his first start against the older horses, but after a canny ride from jockey Tom Queally, the three year old colt made it eight wins in a row, prompting trainer Henry Cecil to label the horse as the best he has ever seen, which is big praise coming from a man who has trained some of the UK’s best gallopers over the last thirty years.
“I think it’s a facetious thing to say, but he’s the best I have ever seen,” said Cecil.
“I suppose the only ones I could compare would be Shergar and Blushing Gloom at his best. I can’t go back to the Tudor Minstrel days of match races, but he’s the best in my lifetime.
“My job was done and it was a bit like going to the dentist beforehand, just waiting for it to be over. I did think he could win easily, but I thought I’d let the horse do the talking. I do think the world of him. He’s a much better horse now than earlier in the year, he’s still improving.”
Jockey Tom Queally, who has now ridden the horse in all eight of his wins, said it was a truly remarkable win, because he had to abandon his plan of taking a sit off the leaders soon after the four horse field left the gates.
“Plan A would have been having him in behind getting relaxed. We had to resort to different things and I just had to use my initiative and thankfully it worked out,” Queally said.
“I’ve said it before – he’s a freak. He’s got so much turbo. He was amazing and I’m very fortunate to be playing a small part in it. He made the others look ordinary and they are very good horses.”
Frankel was expected to be given a run for his money by Canford Cliffs, who went into the race with five consecutive Group One wins under his belt. However the Richard Hannon trained four year old never looked like getting past the eventual winner, and ended up finishing four lengths back in second.
“I don’t think Goodwood is his track. He doesn’t like going downhill,” Hannon said.
“We scoped him and blood tested him and everything is perfect inside. I wouldn’t be worried on a decent track to have another go.
“We’ll have to go home and have a rethink but I’m sure it’s the racecourse. I know one horse had to win and one had to lose, but we’ll have another go at him.
“Either Frankel is just unbeatable or we should have been closer.”
Canford Cliffs’ jockey Richard Hughes said his mount was off the bridle at the 1000m mark which caused him to hang in.
“I’ve never known Canford Cliffs to be off the bridle in the middle of a race. But I don’t want to stand here making excuses as Frankel deserves all the credit.” Hughes said.
Frankel now has an official handicapper rating of 133, which puts him above the 130 mark he shared with Australian sprinter Black Caviar heading into the race.
The undefeated colt will now target the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on October 15. His connections will then make a decision on whether to send him to stud.