JC / Railbird

Champions Day


The Champion Stakes wasn’t Frankel’s most brilliant win (replay), but it didn’t have to be. His winning margin was 1 3/4 lengths, well below his average, and the provisional ratings of 139 from Timeform and 137 from Racing Post put the race slightly below his best. But he exits a perfect 14-for-14, and that’s what everyone in the stands at Ascot was there to see.

Sad as his retirement might be, take comfort that Frankel will endure:

One day far in the future, after all those who will watch his final race at Ascot are gone, a horse may win a Classic at Epsom or maybe Newmarket, and someone in the grandstand will trace through its pedigree, come upon the name of Frankel and think to themselves: “Ah, the mighty Frankel. Now there’s a horse I’d have loved to see racing.”

Today, though, wouldn’t you like to hug Frankel too?

I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” says rider Tom Queally. So have we.

3:10 PM Addendum: Love this detail from Sporting Life’s Champions Day live blog: “Even the Queen hung around to look at this incredible beast.”

10/21/12 See Also: From the BBC, facts about Frankel, such as, his total winning margin in 14 races was 76.25 lengths.


What it’s like to ride against Frankel:

From half a mile out, it’s like having someone suck all the energy out of your own horse…. He kills off the opposition. He breaks hearts…. you’ll watch him go by and just lengthen away into the distance. It’s awesome.

Post time for the Champion Stakes on Saturday: 11:05 AM ET/4:05 PM BT.

Only the ground is a concern: “… if it’s heavy, we are in no man’s land.”

2:25 PM Addendum: Grimthorpe raises the possibility of scratching Frankel, depending on the course condition. Would that be it, then, for the colt? Or would a scratch open up the possibility of a Breeders’ Cup tilt? (Ever hopeful.) Tweets @corneliusracing: “don’t believe #Ascot run ‘hangs in the balance’ …

10/20/12 Update: Frankel will definitely run.

AF (After Frankel)

Considering what’s ahead, post-Champions Day 2012:

Enthusiasts will have to return to the humdrum of an annual champion who was the best of his group but ultimately beatable on an off day and certainly no Frankel; a return to championship races which are open to more than one horse; to speculative punting instead of money-laundering on 1-20 shots, to a time of oligopoly instead of monopoly, and to a time when valid debates can be held over who is the ‘best’ horse in a given year.

Also an apt description of the America scene since November 6, 2010.

Clash of the Champions(hips)

There is something absurd about the plethora of top class turf events in the month that begins with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and ends with the Breeders’ Cup, now that Champions Day is part of the international calendar. But is a meta championship really the answer?

← Before