THE Lockinge Stakes at Newbury saw the return to action of the world’s best racehorse in Frankel and he did not let down the thousands of racing enthusiasts who flocked to see him at the Berkshire venue by producing yet another truly imperious performance to demolish a talented field.
Saturday’s win was his sixth Group One success and the 10th win of his unbeaten career.
Undoubtedly, Frankel is a true champion and the world of horse racing benefits enormously from the extra publicity it receives from the wider sporting media as a result of his exploits.
He has certainly proved that his name is worthy of more than just a mention when comparisons are made between other champions of their generations such as Sea Bird, Nijinsky, Mill Reef and most recently Sea The Stars.
Post race, his mercurial trainer Sir Henry Cecil expounded the virtues of his four-year-old colt and intimated that the son of Galileo seemed an even more rounded and professional individual this year which is quite a statement considering what the horse achieved last term.
There is a developing desire amongst the racing press for Frankel to be tested at a mile and a quarter and Cecil responded to this on Saturday: “He’ll probably tackle a mile and a quarter as the season goes on but there’s no hurry.”
Personally, I do not think I have ever seen a racehorse of such ability and that comment even applies when considering the thoroughbred I consider to be the best racehorse of at least the past 25 years in Sea The Stars.
Frankel appears to have the quality to eclipse the remarkable record of that Irish star but will he be given the opportunity to do so?
Sea The Stars won the 2000 Guineas and The Derby before going on to defeat his elders in the Juddmonte International and Irish Champion before finally producing an amazing performance to crown his career when winning the Prix de la Arc de Triomphe.
All of these wins remarkably came during his three-year-old campaign and he was subsequently retired having achieved victory at the highest level over distances of eight, ten and 12 furlongs.
There are no unanswered questions about his stamina and class in any category.
Every horse is different, but when you consider the pedigree of Frankel, it is very difficult to say he does not have the requisite bloodlines to justify taking a crack at equalling or surpassing the records of racing’s greatest champions and cementing his place as one of the luminaries of the thoroughbred breed.
The outstanding trainer of this generation, Aidan O’Brien, recently commented that providing a variety of tests for the very best racehorses of each generation was a responsibility that every trainer had in order to continue to develop the breed as a whole.
When you consider that Frankel has Group One quality at a mile and a half littered throughout his pedigree – and you reflect on his total dominance of the mile category at present, it could be suggested that to examine the horse firstly at a mile and a quarter, and then ultimately at another two furlongs, is the way forward for this superb race horse.
Frankel looks to be a freak of nature but if his connections decline to give the opportunity to him it will be a case in years to come of “would he or wouldn’t he” and a chance they are unlikely to ever see presented to them again.
John Oxx fearlessly took up the challenge with Sea The Stars and I very much hope to see his contemporaries take up the gauntlet in the same way.
After all, what is there to lose?