JC / Railbird

Champions Day

Frankel Gallops

Have a look:

Of course, the footage is not terrific and we don’t know much more than that Frankel is still alive and a bit faster than Midsummer Sun. Still, you have now seen as much as those gallop-watchers who fell out of bed at 5.30am, which is pretty satisfying. Plus, you get to watch it while glugging coffee and munching donuts, instead of being exposed to Siberian winds across the blasted heath.

The video:

More! Photos from the gallop.

This morning’s work went about as you’d expect: “Everything went very well, it was a good bit of work and we were all very happy. It’s so far, so good.”

Ten days until Frankel’s final start.

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10/11/12 Addendum: How great is Frankel? “Watching Frankel do his thing is almost like watching a driver dominate a Formula 1 race, or Michael Johnson run the 400 meters.”

Frankel to Champion Stakes

It’s odd, how the most likely news can be the most underwhelming.

This Frankel development feels a bit like the Mosses announcing Zenyatta would race in 2010, after she was given a retirement party post-Breeders’ Cup Classic win … and then outlining the same campaign she’d run in 2009.

Addendum: Speaking of Frankel, Zenyatta and what-could-have, Marcus Hersh tweets, “Paris would’ve been biggest racing moment since Zenyatta’s 2nd BC Classic.” Ascot is now wondering where everyone who wants tickets will sit.

An International Triple Crown

Greg Wood commenting on his column re: the Arc or America dilemma:

For as long as Champions Day sits between Paris and America, it will force owners to send a horse to two out of three, and the benefit of extra time to recover means that will, in many cases, be the events on either side of Ascot.

It’s just stupid that they should need to choose at all. Put Champions Day in the right place and you have the makings of a modern Triple Crown, on offer to a horse that can win at Ascot, Longchamp and then in America. What an achievement that would be.

Indeed! It’s hard not to like a proposed schedule that makes the Breeders’ Cup the culmination of a top-tier international season, but there’s a disjunction between audiences that weakens the likelihood of such a set-up, even if the BHA succeeded in finessing the scheduling issues involved — the BC dirt races don’t stir Euro passion, and the turf races are secondary to Americans. On this side of the Atlantic, whether Champions Day is in September or October is all the same to many fans. On the other side, the question is why bother?

The International Whole

Vic Zast:

Thoroughbred breeders have long understood the importance of foreign markets. But racetracks have remained provincial, acting as if their businesses are local. America is used to being first, biggest, best. But the new normal won’t permit that. The sport here is destined to become part of a greater, healthier whole instead of a struggling stand-alone.

Something to think about this Breeders’ Cup week.

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