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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Mighty Frankel keeps his unbeaten crown - but only just

Frankel - twice a Royal Ascot winner
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With six days to go to the royal meeting, we travel back to 2011 when Frankel lined up for the St James's Palace Stakes on the back of his sensational 2,000 Guineas victory at Newmarket

The first of Frankel's two appearances at the royal meeting was something of an anti-climax. Sir Henry Cecil's unbeaten superstar was making his first start since his devastating display of front-running in the 2,000 Guineas.

That scintillating show was a hard act to follow and so it proved, with Frankel having to make the best of a back-to-front type of race involving owner Khalid Abdullah's pacemaker Rerouted.

Frankel's jockey Tom Queally was keen to keep tabs on the runaway front-runner and was confident enough in his mount's ability to take up the running fully three furlongs out.

After looking in trouble in the straight as the opposition loomed, in the end Queally's judgement was vindicated when the 30-100 chance held on from a fast finishing Zoffany by three-parts of a length, with old foe Excelebration a further length and a half away in the third.

After the son of Galileo had crossed the line to extend his unbeaten run to six, Cecil gave a relieved puff of the cheeks on his way to the winner's enclosure and it was noticeable that Frankel was ridden with more restraint in his races after that.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khalid Abdullah recalls: "It was one of those occasions when we got everything wrong but Frankel had enough ability to get us out of it. We got the tactics wrong, the pacemaker wrong and he still managed to win."

He adds: "Frankel put up a most incredible performance in taking up the running after five furlongs in a St James' Palace and still holding on.

"Tom Queally got unfairly criticised afterwards but horses tried to do the same in later races on the card and they couldn't manage it. In may ways it was both our greatest disaster and our greatest triumph."

In may ways it was both our greatest disaster and our greatest triumph
E.W. Terms
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