Superstar Frankel kept his unbeaten record intact with a dominating victory in the $1,560,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Sponsored by QIPCO (Eng-I) at Ascot Oct. 15.
The victory earned the 3-year-old son of Galileo an automatic berth in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs Nov. 5, though trainer Henry Cecil said after the race that he won't make the trip.
"It's been a long year and I'm looking forward to getting a winter over him," Cecil said. "He's a champion, he's out of the ordinary and hopefully he will continue to prove himself next year.
"He won't run again. He'll be put away for the winter."
A field of eight went to the post in the QEII, with Frankel sent off as the heavy 2-5 favorite. Frankel, who was last seen defeating Canford Cliffs in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) at Glorious Goodwood in July, had been pointed toward this race by his connections all year.
Frankel faced a tough field in the QEII, with four other group I winners in the lineup. One of his challengers was Excelebration, a son of Exceed And Excel who had been racing in Frankel’s shadow for much of the year before finally breaking out with his own group I victory in the Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (Fr-I) Sept. 11.
Another top contender was Immortal Verse, a two-time group I winner and the lone filly in the field. The Robert Collet trainee had won both the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot and the Prix Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville, defeating Goldikova in the process.
Richard Hannon sent out the talented Dick Turpin, who had captured the Premio Vittorio di Capua (Ity-I) in his last start. The nearly black colt also was successful in the Totesport.com Summer Mile Stakes (Eng-II) and Bet365 Mile Stakes (Eng-II) earlier this year. Christophe Soumillon, who rode him to victory in Italy, was in the saddle.
At the start it was Bullet Train who shot to the front tunder Ian Mongan. The older half brother to Frankel, entered in the race by his connections to ensure a decent pace, quickly opened up by several lengths on the rest of the field. Dick Turpin led the main group of runners falling in behind. Tom Queally had Frankel relaxed and placed toward the rear of the field.
Bullet Train continued to have an easy lead as the runners hit the halfway point of the race. Frankel, though, had cruised into second as Dick Turpin began to struggle. Excelebration and Immortal Verse also moved into contention as the field entered the home straight.
With two furlongs remaining Frankel overtook his stablemate and edged clear, opening up easily under mild urging by Queally. In the final furlong it was all Frankel, who sailed under the wire four lengths in front.
Excelebration got up for second, with Immortal Verse finishing another 3 1/2 lengths farther back in third. The final time for the eight furlongs was 1:39.45 over a course rated as good.
Cecil, who won the QEII for the first time since Kris captured the event in 1979, had his star colt take a victory lap around the parade ring after the trophy presentation, much to the delight of the Ascot crowd. Afterward Cecil told reporters, “He’s a very, very good horse. He’s done everything I’ve ever asked. I think a mile and a quarter next year will be easily within him. We wanted him to do enough to win. It’s a very nice day.”
Queally said, “He’s the horse of a lifetime for the public, let alone the jockey. It’s difficult to explain what he means to me, I’m terribly, terribly lucky.”
Prince Khalid Abdullah, who bred and races Frankel in the colors of his Juddmonte Farms, added, “He’s the best horse I have ever owned. I hope we can do the same next year.”
Frankel was named after the late trainer Bobby Frankel, who trained Juddmonte’s U.S.-based horses. The bay colt was bred in England and is out of the stakes-winning Danehill mare Kind.