Frankel – Born 2008
Bay horse by Galileo ex Kind, by Danehill
Prince Khalid Abdullah, owner breeder of Frankel, has raced many terrific horses, including Danehill, a Group One-winning sprinter in 1989, and Rainbow Quest, winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1985.
However, neither of these great horses can be ranked in the same league as their descendant Frankel, unbeaten winner of 14 races between August 2010 and October 2012 and considered by the majority of racing enthusiasts as the best horse in history.
The prince began owning horses in the late 1970s, building up his racing and breeding operations under the ‘Juddmonte’ banner, and nowadays has a string composed almost entirely of horses whose families have been in his ownership for several generations. Frankel is a fourth-generation Juddmonte-bred, and now stands as a stallion at Juddmonte’s principal property, Banstead Manor Stud in Cheveley, three miles north east of Newmarket.
Put into training as a two-year-old in Sir Henry Cecil’s Warren Place stable, Frankel showed star potential from the outset – so much so that he was handed the responsibility of bearing the name of his owner’s friend, the late Robert ‘Bobby’ Frankel, who died of cancer in November 2009.
Right from the start, when he made a winning debut on Newmarket’s July Course in a maiden race in August 2012 at the expense of subsequent King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Nathaniel, Frankel went on to bear his name with even greater distinction than anyone could have imagined. He stamped himself as the best two-year-old in Europe by taking the Dewhurst Stakes on his fourth and final outing of the season, but the following two seasons saw him even more dominant.
Frankel showed so much speed that he was not asked to race farther than a mile until he was a four-year-old, and never ran beyond the extended 10 furlongs of the Juddmonte International at York, which he won in August 2012 with his head in his chest. So marked was his superiority over his peers, though, that there is little doubt that he would have won either the Derby or the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe had he contested them: he was in a league of his own even when racing against the very best of the rest.
The final dozen of Frankel’s 14 scintillating victories came in Group races, with 10 of his triumphs coming in Group One company – including two magnificent triumphs, in the 2010 Dewhurst Stakes and 2011 2,000 Guineas, on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile.
Ridden in all his races by Tom Queally, Frankel proved to be the final and brightest jewel in the crown of his trainer, the late Sir Henry Cecil, who eventually broke a lifetime habit of understatement by describing Frankel as, “the best horse I’ve ever seen – in fact, I think he’s the best horse anyone has ever seen”.