Novice race has echoes of Frankel with debut of Crossed Baton
Fly London Southend Airport To Lyon Novice Stakes | Class 4 | 1m | 2yo | RUK
Khalid Abdullah's Crossed Baton has an awful lot to live up to when he makes his debut in the mile novice race at Newmarket on Friday evening.
Seven years ago his owner won the same race with a newcomer called Frankel, who went on to prove himself arguably the greatest racehorse of all time in the care of trainer Sir Henry Cecil.
Remarkably, the runner-up was also a future star, as Frankel was chased home by subsequent King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Nathaniel, with Colour Vision – who took the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2012 – back in 11th place.
Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe was in Deauville at the time, but recalled on Thursday: "I watched it live from there. I was very excited about the horse and it was an extraordinary race, to beat Nathaniel, another Galileo colt, with the future Gold Cup winner some way behind.
"I was amazed he wasn't odds-on [started 7-4f] , given what he had been showing on the gallops. It wasn't until later that I found out John Gosden fancied his and there was some quite heavy support for Nathaniel [3-1] – it was the only time Frankel didn't start odds-on.
"It was great to watch, he did it very professionally rather than in a spectacular way, and it was a very good beginning."
Crossed Baton, who is trained by John Gosden, is entered for the Investec Derby, and Grimthorpe said: "He's a nice, progressive and scopey colt who's been very straightforward, but I think he may need the race."
While Frankel is not represented in the race, Nathaniel is responsible for the Ed Dunlop-trained debutant Global Style.
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