Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fitting Day for Frankel Finale

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fitting Day for Frankel Finale

Article excerpt

THIS is the moment, folks. The moment when racing says farewell to the freakish Frankel who has carried all before him as he makes his final racecourse appearance at Ascot today.

Appropriately enough, it's Champions Day and there has never been a greater champion than Henry Cecil's superstar who is fully expected to preserve his unbeaten record in the Qipco Champion Stakes.

There will hardly be a dry eye in the house if Frankel makes it 14 wins from as many races, and I doubt if many people have dared to think that defeat is on the horizon. The world's best racehorse will be retired to stud after this and, though we would all like to see Frankel's career extended for another year, it has to be a business decision.

However great thou art, there comes a day when time catches up with everyone. Far better to see Frankel go out as the king rather than chance another season with the vulnerability of another thoroughbred coming along and beating him. Even champions can't go on for ever.

Arguably, Frankel faces his stiffest task as his opponents include Nathaniel who has got the closest to him when they both made their debuts on soft ground at Newmarket in August, 2010. The margin was half a length.

While Nathaniel hasn't stood still since, having landed the Coral-Eclipse this season, Frankel has simply been awesome and it seems impossible that he will be denied by the John Gosden colt.

Influenced by soft ground, the French raider Cirrus Des Aigles is seen as the main challenger to Frankel's superiority.

He is a better performer than last year when he won the Champion Stakes and was gaining his third victory of the current campaign when slamming a useful field at Longchamp on Arc weekend.

The ground is right for him but whether he can lower the colours of Frankel is a very different matter. This has to be Frankel's day... again.

There is nothing more frustrating to a trainer than when one of his horses fails to make the cut for a big prize which it had every chance of winning.

Jim Goldie had hoped Jack Dexter would be able to build on his Ayr Bronze Cup success last month in the Coral Sprint Trophy at York last weekend, but the progressive three-year-old fell four short of the cut-off point. …

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