Henry Cecil and Frankel
(Photos : Guardian / Racing Diary)
DEWHURST STAKES (Gr1)
There was the glimpse of another potentially notable racing story in the process of unveiling itself in the ethereal majesty of England’s Newmarket gallops last Friday morning. It revolves around a colt named after one of America’s great trainers who is looked after by one of Britain’s finest in Henry Cecil. Whether Khalid Abdullah’sFrankel (GB) (Galileo) will prove box-office hit or false dawn is the question of the moment, and the clock is ticking down to his first major test Saturday in the Dewhurst Stakes (Gr1) at Newmarket. That is when he will have to confirm the abundant promise of his three starts so far, with the first taken in a virtual canter and the next two - including Ascot’s Royal Lodge Stakes (Gr2) - won by an aggregate of 23 lengths.
Cecil is in his veteran stage now, although that is a tag that does not sit well with a character whose natural bonhomie, energy and humor have been his trademark down the years. Still in full working order is his yearning for the big stage, if not for him then for his horses. Standing out against the mirk on Warren Hill in black attire, the publicity-shy, but style-conscious maestro of the stables that adorn the top of these famous slopes was not playing to the cameras.
You never get used to the publicity,” Cecil said in the frank and self-effacing manner which may be what keeps the public, and particularly Newmarket’s racegoing faithful, firmly on his side.
Every time Warren Place outperforms the opposition in the great races, the reception reserved for him remains undiminished, and will be in evidence again if his new star in the ascendant can keep the dream alive on Saturday. Such generosity of public affection, which he has always commanded, seems to have intensified of late in recognition of the downturns of his life story.
With serious illness an unwelcome caller at Cecil’s door in recent times, his connection with Juddmonte’s eponymous tribute to the much-missed Bobby Frankel seems appropriate. At 67, Cecil certainly seems to be reinvigorated by the presence of his latest flame, who swings along confidently near the front of the string on the way to his effortless canter.
While the Dewhurst will perform its usual task of unlocking the secrets of the following year’s G1 2000 Guineas, there is already the spectre of Epsom’s blue riband hanging over all talk concerning Frankel.
It took a talent of the magnitude of Sea the Stars to end the 20 year wait for a colt to complete the famed Guineas-Derby double last year, but Cecil is keeping both feet on the ground on this matter.
DUBAI DEWHURST STAKES (GROUP 1)
NEWMARKET 7F 16 OCTOBER 2010
Saeed bin Suroor
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News