The great Frankel was arguably the greatest racehorse to ever grace the track.
A good-looking type too; Frankel is a bay horse with a white star, a white snip above his nose and four white socks.
Owned by the late Khalid Abdullah and bred by his own Juddmonte Farms operation, Frankel was trained by another late great of the game Henry Cecil in Newmarket.
It became known well before his debut in August 2010 that he was potentially something special. In fact, the only reason he was allowed to go off at odds as big as 7/4 on his first start was that he was up against another horse with a great early reputation, Nathaniel.
Nathaniel in fact was a great barometer for how good Frankel was. There was a half-length between the pair on their respective debuts, they each finished their career together too with Frankel this time finishing four-and-a-half lengths ahead of his old rival. In between, Nathaniel had a top-class career of his own.
Frankel finished his career with an official BHA rating of 140, some 10-15lbs ahead of most end of season champions.
In 2021, Frankel became one of the two inaugural Hall of Fame characters to be inducted into the British Champions Series Hall of Fame, alongside legendary jockey Lester Piggott.
Frankel is by multiple champion sire and Derby winner Galileo. His dam Kind, herself a Listed race winner, is a daughter of Danehill and is half-sister to Group 1 winner Powerscourt.
As a Galileo-Danehill cross, there were a few doubts about Frankel’s staying ability which is why after the 2000 Guineas he was kept at a mile and a mile-and-a-quarter. That cross is also responsible for such greats as Teofilo, Maybe and Intello.
|Sire/Dam||Grand Sire/Dam||Great Grand Sire/Dam|
|Galileo||Sadler’s Wells||Northern Dancer|
|Rainbow Lake||Rainbow Quest|
We cannot talk enough about how important breeding is in horse racing. In this case, we have the best possible example going.
Northern Dancer caused a stir way back when after he was bought for a huge amount of money. That was justified when he became the undisputed champion sire.
One of Northern Dancer’s many great products was Sadler’s Wells. In turn, it became clear that he was producing Derby contenders left, right and centre. The best of those was Galileo who won the race in great style back in 2001.
After his retirement, Galileo too became a champion sire many times over before unfortunately passing in 2021. The best of his progeny was of course Frankel, leading to no doubt about the lack of coincidence in this breeding line, and it hasn’t stopped there.
Frankel’s Stud Career
Carrying on exactly where Galileo, Sadler’s Wells and Northern Dancer each left off, Frankel is now the champion sire in Europe.
Dual Champion Stakes winner Cracksman, Derby winner Adayar, St Leger champs Hurricane Lane and Logician and other Group 1 winners including Without Parole, Inspiral, Anapurna, Snow Lantern, Quadrilateral and Veracious are all Frankel offspring and it’s early days yet.
Frankel will undoubtedly be champion sire for a long time to come, though when Cracksman’s progeny hit the track, we are bound to see another quality line emerging from this classiest of pedigrees.
Frankel began his racing career on the July Course at Newmarket, beating future Group 1 winner Nathaniel on soft ground. He won a conditions race next before being aimed at Group company for the first time.
After winning the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes by 10 lengths, it was obvious Frankel was a beast. He finished his juvenile season by winning the Dewhurst Stakes.
After taking in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes as a prep for the 2000 Guineas, it was Group 1’s all the way for Frankel thereafter. He never lost a race, winning 14 from 14 and finishing on a rating of 140.
Frankel’s Group 1 wins:
|Date||Race||Won By (Runner-Up)||SP|
|16/10/10||Dewhurst Stakes||2¼ lengths, Roderic O’Connor||4/6|
|30/04/11||2000 Guineas||6 lengths, Dubawi Gold||1/2|
|14/06/11||St James’s Palace Stakes||¾ length, Zoffany||3/10|
|27/07/11||Sussex Stakes||5 lengths, Canford Cliffs||8/13|
|15/10/11||Queen Elizabeth II Stakes||4 lengths, Excelebration||4/11|
|19/05/12||Lockinge Stakes||5 lengths, Excelebration||2/7|
|19/06/12||Queen Anne Stakes||11 lengths, Excelebration||1/10|
|01/08/12||Sussex Stakes||6 lengths, Farhh||1/20|
|22/08/12||Juddmonte International||7 lengths, Farhh||1/10|
|20/10/12||Champion Stakes||1¾ lengths, Cirrus Des Aigles||2/11|
There is little doubt that Frankel was conservatively campaigned. His breeding and ability together suggested he could have gone for the Derby in 2011. He has since sired Oaks, Derby and St Leger winners further showing the staying ability in his bloodline.
Despite never taking in the Derby, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Breeders’ Cup or Dubai World Cup, he still made career earnings of £2,998,000.
Frankly, he would undoubtedly have been the highest earning horse on the track if allowed to globetrot somewhat, though now in fairness he commands an eye-watering £200,000 stud fee.
The brilliant Khalid Abdullah did so much for the sport of horse racing right across the world. As the owner-breeder, he takes the most credit for Frankel.
Khalid Abdullah named the horse after another trainer of his, the great Bobby Frankel in the States, though he was sent to be trained in Newmarket by Henry Cecil.
Cecil is another who didn’t need a Frankel to be labelled as one of the greatest trainers ever, though even he hadn’t seen a horse with this sheer level of ability before.
Frankel was career-defining for a lot of people involved, not least jockey Tom Queally. Not considered one of the very best riders around, Queally rode Frankel as Cecil’s retained first jockey in all of his fourteen career successes.
One face the camera managed to catch every time Frankel was walked back into the winners’ enclosure was that of Sandeep Gauravaram, his groom at Cecil’s Warren Place yard. A former jockey in India, Sandeep looked afer Frankel for his whole racing career.