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Frankel - Ascot - 20/10/2012

Frankel makes it 14 from 14 in Champion Stakes

Report: Ascot, Saturday

Qipco Champion Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f, 3yo+

FRANKEL, the world's best horse and arguably the greatest ever, made his final start a winning one when capturing the Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Khalid Abdullah's superstar, who has cruised home at odds of 1-10, 1-20 and 1-10 on his last three starts, was expected by some to face a sterner test in Britain's second richest Flat race.

He was not as flash or exhilarating as he had been in his previous outings, but still had far too much class for Cirrus Des Aigles, the world's second-highest rated thoroughbred on official ratings, and Eclipse winner Nathaniel, who both had conditions in their favour.

Frankel, like at York in the International Stakes last month, was slowly away under regular jockey Tom Queally as his pacemaking stablemate and half-brother Bullet Train found his stride.

His rider Ian Mongan was quick to look back, checking on the red-hot 2-11 favourite's progress and allowing Cirrus Des Aigles to go on. Nathaniel, who had run Frankel to half a length when the pair made their debuts in a Newmarket maiden in August 2010, was also handy, but all eyes were on the Sir Henry Cecil-trained colt.

Frankel - Tom Queally - Champion Stakes - Oct 2012

Tom Queally celebrates on Frankel

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Content to track Bullet Train, he settled in fourth and travelled with his customary power before moving into a position to challenge Cirrus Des Aigles, with Nathaniel beaten.

The son of Galileo then quickened and had a length-and-three-quarters to spare over Cirrus Des Aigles who returned at 9-2.

"He's the best I've ever had and the best I've ever seen," said Cecil. "I'd be very surprised if there's ever been better."

Confirming his pride and joy's final appearance, Abdullah said: "That is the end - he will retire."

Queally, aboard Frankel for all of his 14 races, said: "I'm so proud of him. It's been an amazing journey and I can't tell you what it means to be part of it.

"He was a bit slowly away at York and slow today, but I've so much belief in him. We lost a length, but that's nothing to him."

Asked how much of a challenge it was to ride one of the greats, Queally replied: "I can think of harder things. It's amazing. There is pressure, but I'll gladly take it."

Fan-favourite Frankel returned to huge cheers from 30,000-plus racegoers and Queally added: "It's unusual for a Flat crowd to get behind a horse - it's so touching. What a day. I'm just proud, fortunate and privileged to be associated with him."

Frankel: The Wonder Horse is published by Racing Post Books on November 16 at the special price of £15 (rrp £20). Pre-order your copy now at www.racingpost.com/shop or 01933 304858
 
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