Frankel heads to Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday for the Group 1, £316,500
Sussex Stakes. The Sir Henry Cecil-trained four-year-old sauntered to a facile
five-length victory over Canford Cliffs in last year's renewal of the
prestigious mile contest and will be aiming to stretch his unbeaten run to 12
races in the 2012 renewal.
If he is successful on Wednesday, Frankel would also create history by becoming the first horse to win the Sussex twice.
Owned by Khalid Abdulla and partnered by Tom Queally on all his 11 starts to date, Frankel was last seen at Royal Ascot on June 19 when he recorded his most impressive victory to date in the Group 1 Queen Anne with a breathtaking 11-length success over Excelebration. That performance earned him an official rating of 140 with the British Horseracing Authority.
"Unfortunately, I won't be at Goodwood on Wednesday as I have been undergoing some treatment," trainer Sir Henry Cecil said on his website Monday. "Although I am able to train my horses I'm not quite fit to go racing yet, but I hope to be fully recovered in the near future.
"Everything has gone as we could have wished with Frankel since the Queen Anne. We gave him an easy time immediately after Royal Ascot before bringing him back into fast work.
"He has pleased us with his work and is going to the Sussex Stakes in good shape. We are taking one race at a time with him and are hoping that he can extend his unbeaten record."
Frankel is generally trading at odds of 1-20 with bookmakers for the Sussex on Wednesday and is set to face three opponents. His main rival would appear to be Farhh, who was supplemented for the race at a cost of £19,500. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the lightly-raced four-year-old has run two excellent races in Group 1 company on his latest starts, going down by a half-length to Nathaniel in the Eclipse at Sandown on July 7 and finishing third to So You Think in the Prince of Wales's at Royal Ascot on June 20, when he stayed on well after losing ground at the start.
Interestingly, Farhh was due to have met Frankel in a juvenile conditions race at Doncaster in September 2010, but had to be withdrawn at the start when injuring himself in the stalls.
Completing the line-up in the Sussez are the Richard Fahey-trained Gabrial, who was last seen out when fifth in the Group 1 St James's Palace at Royal Ascot on June 19 and Frankel's half-brother and stablemate Bullet Train, who usually plays the pacemaking role for his illustrious sibling.
The Sussex is the fifth race in the Mile category of the British Champions Series.
The big race for two-year-olds on Wednesday is the Group 2, £60,000 Vintage Stakes over seven furlongs.
The topically-named Olympic Glory, who will carry a three-pound penalty, heads the 10 declared runners. The son of Choisir, trained by Richard Hannon, created a big impression when winning at Goodwood in early June and belied his odds of 20[-1 when finishing second in the Group 2 Coventry at Royal Ascot on June 19.
He gained a Group 2 success of his own when holding off Birdman by a head in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on July 14. Maxentius and Artigiano, who finished third and fourth, will both re-oppose.
Ghurair, trained by John Gosden and owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, made a positive start to his career with a l1 1/2-length success over seven furlongs at Newmarket on July 13.
"Ghurair is in good form. He has always worked like a nice horse and it was good to see him reproduce that on the racecourse when he won at Newmarket," said Angus Gold, racing manager to Hamdan Al Maktoum.
"It's nice to see the form is beginning to work out, but they are all two-year-olds and it's early in their careers so there isn't a lot of form to go on. Ghurair won like a nice horse so hopefully he can go on from that.
"The ground should be OK for him, but Goodwood is Goodwood in terms of the course and it's different to a lot of other places. Some horses handle it and some don't, so we won't know until we get there."
The field also includes a second Godolphin representative, Tha'ir, who won the Chesham at Royal Ascot on June 23, while Mick Channon will be represented by Group 3 winner Chilworth Icon and Newmarket maiden victor Luhaif.
Andrew Balding will saddle Operation Chariot, who won by five lengths on debut at Sandown in June before disappointing in the Superlative. Completing the line-up is Brian Meehan's Epsom maiden winner Whipper's Boy.