Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 11:12 21/10/2012
The racing world held it's beath on Champions Day as the phenomenon that is Frankel strutted his stuff for the fourteenth and final time in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot before a crowd of 32,000 of which every single one had come to witness the swansong of possibly the greatest racehorse of the modern era.
In beating the wonderfully consistent French challenger Cirrus Des Aigles by one and three quarter lengths no one could claim that this was the finest performance of Galileo's most famous son, but in conditions that were never going to allow Frankel to show his turn of foot, that no rival has ever been able to withstain, yesterday was just a case of ' getting the job done,' and that he did with the minimum of fuss.
The race didn't go exactly to plan as Frankel fell asleep in the stalls leaving Ian Mongan on pacemaker Bullet Train undecided as to what action to take in the early stages of the 1m 2f contest. Once Frankel made up the lost ground and cruised up to Cirrus Des Aigles over a furlong out the result was never in any doubt sending the partisan crowd into raptures.
While most of the racing world was hoping for a performance that would elevate Frankel to an official rating making him the superior of 1986 Champion Dancing Brave, that may have been achieved, not by Frankel but by another winner on the card in the shape of Excelebration.
Since suffering an eleven length thrashing by Sir Henry Cecil's superstar in Royal Ascot's Queen Anne Stakes, the Aidan O'Brien-trained miler has beaten field chock-full of Group 1 performers in the Prix Jacques Le Marois and yesterday improved on that performance when confirming the form in even more emphatic style when beating the top class pair of Cityscape and Elusive Kate without being asked a serious question.
Those two victories show Excelebration to be an outstanding miler and if his Queen Elizabeth 11 win entitles him to a career best rating the handicapper must now reasses the form of the Queen Anne Stakes and in so doing must put Frankel on a mark greater than the 140 previously allotted, making him the greatest champion of modern times.