Frankel winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas
Frankel winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas

Frankel - QIPCO 2000 Guineas (G1)

(Photo : Sky Sports)


From the desk of Bill Oppenheim

It’s shorthand, really, for the blistering turn of foot which only the really top horses have: in Frankel’s (Galileo) case (in last Saturday’s English 2000 Guineas), it wasn’t just a 22-second quarter. After a first eighth in around :13 seconds (from which probably at least two ticks should be subtracted, as James Willoughby points out, since European races are timed from a standing start, American ones from a running start), it looks very much like Frankel ran the next half-mile in :45 and change, maybe :46 at the outside. I say “it looks like” because, as American handicappers are always incredulous to hear, there is no sectional timing in British racing. So Willoughby and an associate, and Jamie McCalmont and an associate, timed last Saturday’s Frankel demolition job in the G1 English 2000 Guineas, with stopwatches off the TV. The Racing Post did, too, and everybody I’ve talked to has come up with pretty nearly the same thing: after the first eighth, a 22-second quarter, a :45-and-change half. They were all dead after that. The only two to come out of the pack, Dubawi Gold (Dubawi) and Native Khan (Azamour) had both had a run already this year, and it was 11 lengths back to the rest of the field.

It wasn’t just “visually impressive,” either. Racing Post assigned the race an RPR of 133, highest for a 2000 Guineas since 1988, the year for which the Racing Post figures were first compiled. Timeform gave him a provisional figure of 142, which rates him among the greats. Then there was the question of where he should go next. If, like Secretariat, Frankel could lay down that :22-second quarter and :45-and-change half any time during a race, he could get a mile and a half, all right. That’s what Secretariat did when he looped the field on the backstretch in the 1973 G1 Preakness; he went from last of six to 2 1/2 lengths in front of Sham in two furlongs, and cruised home in the next six furlongs to beat him by 2 1/2 lengths.

But Frankel may not have wanted to be rated that first mile of the G1 Epsom Derby, which is probably one of the reasons for Tuesday’s announcement from Henry Cecil. Also, it was interesting to read in Andrew Caulfield’s column yesterday that Frankel resembles his dam, the sprinter Kind (Danehill) more than his sire, Galileo, or the other staying influences in his pedigree, such as the second dam’s sire, Rainbow Quest, and the third dam’s sire, Stage Door Johnny. There is a common misconception that many people have about pedigrees, which is that horses are somehow a blend of the names you see on the page. In fact, my observation is that most horses throw to one or maybe two names on the page (although usually not as good, given the law of genetics that populations naturally breed back to the middle).

In Frankel’s case, there is sure an awful lot of Danzig about him. That’s the same Danzig that sired six fast-ground winners - I think it was - of the six furlong G1 July Cup, and is the tail-male ancestor of five more. Danehill himself, of course, was a sprinter who could get a mile. Even though he sired plenty of horses who got much further, it’s entirely possible the roll of the genetic dice has resulted, in Frankel’s case, in a pulverizing miler.

Fortunately, even given all of us armchair quarterbacks with an opinion, the decision lay with Henry Cecil, now trainer of 25 British Classic winners. Frankel’s future program is in safe hands. What we know now for sure is that Frankel is a superstar, and for European breeding to have produced Sea The Stars and Frankel in the space of three years just about qualifies this to be called a Golden Age.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News