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Frankel - Queen Anne Stakes - Royal Ascot 2012

Frankel only knows how much more Frankel has left to offer us all

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Awesome Frankel the wonder of brilliant Ascot

AN unforgettable week at Royal Ascot spearheaded by the best performance in the world this year, or any year.

Here are some of the highlights from the Top Listers - including a bonus performance from Japan.

FRANKEL (Queen Anne Stakes) 142+
Handicappers used to work on a 0-140 scale but we might have to change the wording. From now on it will be known as the 0-Frankel scale.

When he retires we will have a new theoretical maximum, although you shouldn't expect anything to hit the 'Frankel' level for a while.

Before last week he shared top spot on the RPR all-time list with Dubai Millennium on a mark of 139. He had always promised to go one better but last week he actually went three better by posting a scale-breaking RPR of 142.

In the last 20-odd years since we've been keeping ratings he is way out on his own, but that is because he IS entirely out on his own; how could any horse possibly beat the colt who won the Queen Anne last week?

His sectional times tell part of the story, as he clocked a 10.58-second furlong between 2f and 1f out, which digitises the analogue impression he left in quickening away from his rivals like an ostrich in a field of penguins.

An 11-length drubbing of Excelebration was the headline but it is no guide to the form. The runner-up underperformed and to assess the performance you have to use the penguins.

He is running against the same old horses every time and is still running over his safe trip of a mile, but the way he can beat up his contemporaries is something to behold.

For three seasons now he's been handing out colossal beatings, averaging almost five-lengths a time across his seven Group 1 victories.

It should be more of the same in the Sussex, which looks to be next on his agenda. Then he is set to step up in trip for the Juddmonte International at York.

Clare Balding mentioned on the BBC last week (in reference to the great Eclipse) that Frankel may be commemorated with a big-race title in future and the International, sponsored by his owner, looks a prime candidate. They won't have any choice if he improves for the extra distance; thereby doing a Frankel in the Frankel.

Frankel only knows how much more Frankel has to offer.

BLACK CAVIAR (Diamond Jubilee Stakes) 122+
Jockey Luke Nolen was very nervous in the gates. Trainer Peter Moody was nervous. Ascot was alive with expectation and Federation Square in Melbourne was buzzing.

Black Caviar - Newmarket - June 2012

Black Caviar: a win's a win's a win

  PICTURE: Racing Post  

There was an unprecedented global pressure on this one horse in this one race. The build-up was so great that winning distance expectations went wild.

In a week which started with an 11-length win for Frankel, and with Black Caviar unlikely to score by more than five-lengths, the result, especially under such pressure, could never live up to expectations. In the end it was almost a negative margin.

Nolen admitted to a "brain fade" in the closing stages which saw Black Caviar win by a shorter distance than she could have.

This human error was a result of the massive pressure on this race after 12 months of meticulous planning, with the international media following their every move. No planning could have predicted the pressure-cooker atmosphere waiting for them at Ascot.

If the jockey transmitted his nerves to the horse it may have affected her during the race. In normal circumstances she would switch off in the early stages, even rock out of the gates in last and just stroll along without a care in the world.

This was different. She was fast away and had had to keep up a decent gallop for longer than she ever has in her life - her sole 7f win having come off a National Hunt pace, and Ascot being the stiffest 6f she had encountered. Nolen admitted she had had enough at the end and the sectionals show she clocked a slow final furlong of 13.7 seconds.

That's how it is with the 6f at Ascot. You need to get a good 7f to see it out well. Dandy Boy, who won the Wokingham in a faster time than Black Caviar, had actually been plying his trade over a mile on his last three starts. And that's why Aussie flat-track sprinters tend to be more successful in the King's Stand than the Diamond Jubilee.

Moody had thought that she would be even better at 7f and a mile, but this result is proof, if needed, that she is definitely a sprinter. It only took us 22 runs to put that one to bed. In the end she scraped home by a head after Luke Nolen eased her down prematurely.

There was little more than a couple of lengths covering the first seven, so the form and the rating is the weakest since before the Racing Post first recognised her as the best sprinter in the world in October 2010. She was clearly not at her scintillating best last week.

Distance, ground, plane journey, off-season, pressure; all valid and combined excuses, but this success was, nevertheless, a success. A win's a win's a win, and 22 unbeaten is 22 unbeaten.

She will return to Australia with an even bigger following after this victory, but the frenzied media attention will abate. From now on, until she is retired, she will be running at familiar tracks against familiar foes. Just like Frankel.

SO YOU THINK (Prince Of Wales's Stakes) 127
Historically it has been hard for southern hemisphere horses to win middle-distance races in Europe, but So You Think went one step further, securing a never-before-achieved treble of championship events: the Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and Prince Of Wales's Stakes.

So You Think - Irish Champion Stakes - Sept 2011

So You Think: rock solid over 1m2f

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos) 

He was odds-on to win the third of those last week, mainly because he didn't face a true championship-level rival, but he won as he was entitled and confirmed himself a horse of great consistency.

If you take out his first runs on dirt and Tapeta, and the step up in trip for the Arc, and concentrate solely on his races over 1m2f on turf, he has been a rock, running to RPRs of 127-129 on his last ten starts, winning eight.

Last week he posted a mark of 127. It was his 17th RPR of 125 or better, his fifth Group 1 in Europe and his tenth Group 1 overall during a tremendous sequence of results which stretch right back to his first Cox Plate victory in 2009.

He may not have ability of Frankel (who does?), but has plenty of other attributes (physique, gears, versatility, grit) which are reflected in his accomplished cv.

He achieved a rare level of domination in the intermediate division in Australia and it takes a special horse to dominate speed races in Australia and then bag a unique treble of strong-paced championship events in Europe. To add to his eclectic mix of accolades, he was also the world champion stayer in 2010, after hulking a big weight to third in the Melbourne Cup.

Special and unique he may be, but he's also getting out of the intermediate division at the right time. As soon as Frankel steps up in trip, the intermediates will be blown apart like the milers have been.

ORFEVRE (Takarazuka Kinen) 129+
They went a sustained gallop so there were no excuses this time, and none were needed. He was back to his brilliant best in the Takarazuka Kinen on Sunday, winning by a cosy two-lengths from Rulership (125).

This was a back-to-form win after two strange defeats earlier this season. His first defeat might have been filmed for an episode of 'Luck': not settle, ran wide, pulled up, dropped back through field, picked up again, swept around field, took lead, finished second.

His second defeat came off a slow pace, with 159-1 shot Beat Black winning from the front by a form-defying four-lengths. That result had everything to do with pace and nothing to do with ability.

On Sunday they went a good, solid, even pace and the result was a career best RPR of 129+ for Japan's most exciting horse since Deep Impact.

Last year he looked a superstar in waiting, winning the triple crown and then seeing off his elders in the Arima Kinen. This year he had given cause for concern, but he clearly still has exceptional ability on a going day. And there could still be more to come.

TOP OF THE CLASS: Frankel 142+
Sir Henry Cecil (GB) (Queen Anne Stakes, Royal Ascot, 1m, 19 June)

TOP LIST


Name (country trained) Race Rating
1 Frankel (GB) Queen Anne Stakes 142T
2
Black Caviar (Aus) Lightning Stakes 130T
  Cirrus Des Aigles (Fr) Prix Ganay 130T
4 Hay List (Aus) Newmarket Handicap 129T

Orfevre (Jap) Takarazuka Kinen
129T
6
Camelot(Jap) Derby 128T
  Wise Dan (US) Ben Ali/Stephen Foster  128A/D
 8 Excelebration (Ire) Lockinge Stakes 127T

I'll Have Another (US) Preakness Stakes 127D
  So You Think (Ire) Tattersalls Gold Cup 127T
  St Nicholas Abbey (Ire) Coronation Cup 127T

 

TOP TURF PERFORMERS


Name (country trained) Race Rating
1 Frankel (GB) Queen Anne Stakes 142
2
Black Caviar (Aus) Lightning Stakes 130

Cirrus Des Aigles (Fr) Prix Ganay 130
4
Hay List (Aus) Newmarket Handicap 129

Orfevre (Jap) Takarazuka Kinen
129
 6
Camelot (Ire) Derby 128
 7 Excelebration (Ire) Lockinge Stakes 127
  So You Think (Ire) Tattersalls Gold Cup 127
  St Nicholas Abbey (Ire) Coronation Cup 127
10 Cityscape (HK) Dubai Duty Free
126


TOP DIRT PERFORMERS


Name (country trained) Race Rating
1 Wise Dan (US) Stephen Foster Hcap 128
2 I'll Have Another (US) Preakness Stakes 127
3 Bodemeister (US) Arkansas Derby 126
  Caleb's Posse (US) Met Mile 126
5 Ron The Greek (US)
Stephen Foster Hcap 124
  Shackleford (US) Met Mile 124
  To Honor And Serve (US) Westchester S 124
8
Game On Dude (US) San Antonio
123

Smart Falcon (Jap) Kawasaki Kinen 123
  Jackson Bend (US) Carter Handicap 123
  Successful Dan (US) Alysheba Stakes 123

Union Rags (US) Belmont Stakes 123


TOP ALL-WEATHER PERFORMERS


Name (country trained) Race Rating
1 Wise Dan (US) Ben Ali 
128
2
Monterosso (UAE) Dubai World Cup 126
3 Game On Dude (US) Californian 123
  Krypton Factor (BHR) Golden Shaheen
123
5 Musir (SAF) Maktoum Challenge R1
122
  Colour Vision (GB) Sagaro Stakes 122
7 African Story (UAE) Godolphin Mile 121
8 Capponi (UAE) Dubai World Cup 120
9
Planteur (GB) Dubai World Cup
119
10 Prince Bishop (UAE) Meydan Hcap
118
  Dullahan (US) Blue Grass Stakes 118
  So You Think (Ire) Dubai World Cup
118
  Red Cadeaux (GB) Sagaro Stakes 118
 
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