Click above to watch Frankel winning the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Gr1)
(Photo : Dailymail / Footage : Racing UK)
DUBAI DEWHURST STAKES (GR1)
It was billed as a three-horse war, but it turned into a one-man show in yesterday’s Dewhurst Stakes (Gr1) at Newmarket.
The unbeaten Frankel had raced keenly through the early strides following trouble leaving the gate, but picked up impressively, causing winning jockey Tom Queally to comment, “He’s a superstar, and he’s done it when it mattered. He’s something very special.”
First coming to attention when winning a mile maiden on soft ground at Newmarket’s July course on debut 13 August, Frankel showed what he was really capable of when he strolled home by 13 lengths from subsequent Prix Marcel Boussac (Gr1) third Rainbow Springs (Selkirik) in a Doncaster conditions event on his next outing 10 September.
The homebred stunned the crowd at Ascot on his last run, quickening clear at the quarter pole to destroy his rivals in the Royal Lodge Stakes (Gr2) by 10 lengths.
With news emanating from Newmarket of a spectacular piece of work last Saturday, further improvement seemed possible, and he was sent postward as a strong favorite despite the ground apparently softening in favor of his main market rival and dual Group 1 winner Dream Ahead (Diktat). Squeezed out as he broke from the stalls, the eventual winner pulled for his head at the rear of the field as Roderic O’Connor towed them through the early stages.
Queally allowed the muscular bay to stride on up to the leaders at the two-furlong marker, and his whip was not deployed as Frankel took it up 100 yards later before running on strongly to the line. Queally explained, “He received a bump leaving the stalls and it set him alight, whereas at Ascot he put his head down and relaxed, but he quickened up well and put the race to bed. Probably on the ground he wandered off a true line, but we’ll forgive him that.”
Trainer Henry Cecil, taking this prestigious contest for the first time since Diesis in 1982, opined, “In his work he’s very relaxed, but when you get a nasty bump like that, it makes a difference and it set him alight. He won well and Tom didn’t need to hit him with the whip. It was lovely. I have to thank the Prince (Khalid Abdullah) for sending him to me.” Regarding plans for next year, the veteran conditioner said, “I’m hopeful that he will make a 2000 Guineas (Gr1) horse and maybe the St James’ Palace (Gr1); whether he will get further, we’ll have to see, and I’ll need to talk to the Prince about that.”
The owner’s racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, expressed the view that his targets were not yet set in stone. “I think that we’re not going to dismiss the Epsom Derby (Gr1) lightly. He’ll go straight to the 2000 Guineas and we’ll see how he develops over the winter. The Guineas is the first part, and the second part will obviously be the issue. The Derby is a very important race for all concerned, and we’ll have to look at him in the spring. Henry will be the best judge of that, and he’s likely to have an extensive programme as a three-year-old.” Frankel is a general even-money favourite with British bookmakers for the 2000 Guineas, and trades as the 3-1 favorite for the Epsom Derby.
Aidan O’Brien, trainer of the runner-up, reflected, “He set a nice sensible gallop, and he’s very straightforward. Everything’s open to him.” A disappointed David Simcock said of the previously unbeaten Dream Ahead, “It might have just come too quick for him, he just never picked up.”
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News