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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Farewell to Frankel

Saturday's Irish Independent article:

"WHEN the legends die, the dreams end; there is no more greatness." So said Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee tribe and one the most iconic figures in Native American history. Fair enough, Frankel is far from dead and I've no doubt Tecumseh was discussing more important matters than sport; but one can't help feeling a little melancholic as the greatest horse in racing history goes to post one last time this afternoon. Certainly, it has been a dream journey for Sir Henry Cecil and the 69-year-old trainer has credited Frankel for giving him a lease of life and helping him fight a very tough battle with stomach cancer. Perhaps then, it's not so over-the-top to compare both the horse and trainer to the legends of the past. Great horses will come along again in the future but God knows when, if ever, we'll see one this good. A friend of mine who manages a bookmaker shop in Wicklow told me that some of his regular customers have been backing Frankel with small stakes this week - but rather than cashing in the dockets when he wins, they plan on keeping them as souvenirs. As a man with some Cavan blood in me, I'd never leave a docket un-cashed, even if it were worth only pennies - but if I'm blessed with grandchildren in years to come, I'll certainly have them on my knee recalling memories of this absolute freak of an animal. Having discussed the son of Galileo on these pages almost every time he's raced, there's not much more to say only that I desperately hope the ground doesn't come up too heavy at Ascot in the Champion Stakes (4.05) for which he trades at 2/9. The worst ground he's encountered thus far has been soft and that was on his debut - although he is so far ahead of any horse in training that defeat seems almost out of the question, not matter what the conditions today. Cirrus Des Aigles won't mind the ground and should follow him home, with Nathanial also expected to give a reasonably good account of himself. Let's just hope that Frankel and Cecil get the fairytale ending they deserve. In the opening Long Distance cup (1.45), Opinion Poll is tipped to reverse last year's placings with Fame And Glory and take home the prize for the boys in blue at Godolphin, priced around 3/1. The latter horse was one of the best stayers of the season last term but he's failed to sparkle in his latest two races and you'd have to wonder if the days of winning group races are now a thing of the past. The selection was beaten by stablemate Colour Vision in the Ascot Gold Cup last time but Colour Vision hasn't been quite as good in his subsequent races so if you ask me, Frankie Dettori will have his work cut out to get him home in front today. Opinion Poll is far more consistent and will have no problem handling today's conditions. In the following Champions Sprint Stakes (2.20), take a chance on the mud-loving Maarek, available at 13/2 in places. He was particularly striking in the group three Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh last month and as one of the toughest five-year-olds in training, the quick return to racing after a six day break won’t prove troublesome.

It's been over a year since Ponty Acclaim has registered a win but she's been holding her own in listed company of late and seems to enjoy a run in the muck. Despite the fact that she'll be carrying topweight, the Catterick Dash Handicap (2.50) is a step down in class for her today and it wouldn't be at all surprising to see the front-runner take off early and go for gold this afternoon, priced around 8/1.

RACING: Excelebration has had to settle for the runner-up place behind Frankel a couple of times this season but there's certainly no shame in coming second to the world's greatest horse. A top drawer performance when winning  the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville last time was proof that he's one of the best milers in the business and his odds-on price of 8/11 for today's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot (3.30) is justified.
SOCCER: The Norwich defence have been as useful as a chocolate fireguard lately and the Canaries have conceded as many as twelve goals already this season. That figure is likely to get worse this afternoon considering Arsenal's recent record on the road. Back the Gunners to win this evening at 4/7.

1.45 Ascot: Opinion Poll
2.20 Ascot: Maarek
2.50 Catterick: Ponty Acclaim (e/w)
2.55 Ascot: Great Heavens
3.30 Ascot: Excelebration


  1. Hi

    can you add more videos from your trading ? :)

  2. Hi Martin, I know I promised to do so some time back. Hope to get around to it soon.