Frankel: Sir Henry Cecil is pleased with colt prior to QEII bidPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
QEII no 'formality' for Frankel says Cecil
SIR HENRY CECIL on Monday reported that unbeaten colt Frankel remains in excellent form before the Qipco Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but insisted the result is not a formality.
Frankel is a hot 1-3 favourite to remain unbeaten and win his ninth consecutive race when he takes to the track at Ascot on Saturday.
"It's a good race, there are one or two good horses in it," Cecil said. "No race is a formality. I respect the opposition and there's no such thing as a good thing.
"I'm very happy with him. I think he is an improving horse. I'm delighted with him at the moment and hopefully it would be nice to run the race and he'll do what people would expect him to do."
With Frankel set to line-up alongside his lead horse and three-parts brother Bullet Train, in a race in which Immortal Verse and Excelebration will attempt to match the favourite's turn of foot, tactics willbe a huge talking point in the lead-up to Saturday's showdown.
Cecil would prefer Frankel not to make the running, as he did at Newmarket when spread-eagling the Qipco 2,000 Guineas field in April.
The trainer said: “That was quite an ordeal at Newmarket and I think for the horse – especially now he's relaxed and settled – that's harder on him; I don't particularly want to make the running.
“I don't think it's fair on him or the best thing for him, but Frankel of course could do one of three things: make the running, drop out last or race handy. But I don't think it matters.”
Nor, seemingly, do Blue Square and Ladbrokes think that punters will reckon on tactics preventing Frankel from retaining his unbeaten status, as on Monday they priced up the race without the favourite.
Ladbrokes make Excelebration and Immortal Verse 2-1 joint-favourite to beat all bar Frankel, but Blue Square just favour the French raider Immortal Verse, quoting her at 7-4 in that market.