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Frankel Has Silenced His Critics

For all the anticipation that surrounded Frankel’s retirement to stud there lurked a nagging question - how does one even begin to manage stallion expectations for a horse that is deservedly regarded as a true great of the turf?

Frankel Has Silenced His Critics

For all the anticipation that surrounded Frankel’s retirement to stud there lurked a nagging question - how does one even begin to manage stallion expectations for a horse that is deservedly regarded as a true great of the turf?

Some six years after he began his stud career Frankel Horseform has all but silenced the critics who were decrying his ability to match his illustrious racing deeds with similar results at stud.

On reflection the doomsayers may have felt they were on safe ground as Frankel was indeed facing a steep challenge after the Juddmonte Farms’ homebred retired with a Timeform rating of 147, the highest figure ever awarded in that esteemed organisation’s long history.


Frankel
Frankel Picture:Pat Healy Photography

Frankel’s Timeform rating summed up a sublime racing career that saw him compile an unbeaten 14-race winning sequence that was the longest seen in Europe since the immortal Ribot in 1952.

His 14 wins included 10 G1 victories of unparalleled brilliance - a Dewhurst Stakes that capped his dominant juvenile season; his unbelievable display of front-running power in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket; that 11-length romp to win the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot; and the Juddmonte International where he cruised clear for a seven lengths victory.

For all that amazing talent, such a high-profile career only fuels the detractors promoting the notion that a stallion is unlikely to throw a horse as good as himself and that any early stud success is only due to the quality of mares afforded him in his opening seasons.

In Frankel’s case his breeding, being by Galileo out of a stakes winning daughter of Danehill, added to the appeal that drew an array of the world’s elite breeders eager to use him at his opening fee of £125,000 ($222,500) at Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket in 2013.

Frankel’s first book of 131 mares to Northern Hemisphere time included 38 G1 winners and 25 dams of G1 winners, ensuring his fist crop of yearlings in 2015 came under intense commercial scrutiny.

Indeed his first yearlings did hit the headlines, notably at the Arqana August Sale where a filly out of Platonic sold for €1.15 million ($A1.715 million) and Goffs Orby Sale where subsequent Listed winner Goldrush, out of Alexander Goldrun, realised €1.7 million ($A2.725 million) to the China Horse Club.

For Frankel it made a fast start with his first 2YOs that much more important. He duly delivered, getting off to a flyer when his first runner Cunco Horseform won his debut for John Gosden at Newbury in May of 2016.

By July he had his first stakes winner and three others followed in the UK that season, an excellent start that was consolidated at the end of the year when his Japanese runner Soul Stirring Horseform became his first G1 winner the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies in Japan.

Soul Stirring
Soul Stirring Picture:Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association

As they say in the classics, the rest is history!

Entering 2019 with three crops racing Frankel is the sire of 34 stakes winners and 144 winners from 219 runners among 339 foals of racing age foaled across both hemispheres. He finished 2018 in fourth place on the leading European sires’ table despite having fewer crops on the ground than many of his rivals.

When Mirage Dancer Horseform won the G3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood in August Frankel became the fastest European-based stallion to hit the landmark of 20 Group or Graded stakes winners.

That tally has since risen to 25 and includes a quintet of G1 winners led by Cracksman Horseform, the dual Qipco Champion Stakes winner, and St James’s Palace Stakes hero Without Parole Horseform.

Cracksman’s retirement to Dalham Hall Stud for the 2019 season sees him become Frankel’s first major son to stand at stud in Europe.

Cracksman
Cracksman Picture:Pat Healy Photography

Frankel’s first crop in 2016 brought him the following accolades:-

• The leading sire in the Northern Hemisphere by two-year-old Group winners ahead of Galileo and War Front

• The leading first season sire in Europe and North America by worldwide earnings

• The leading first season sire in Europe by Group winners

• Awarded the TBA Tattersalls Silver Salver for leading British-based first season sire in 2016

Better was to come in 2017. Despite only having two-year-olds and three-year-olds to run for him he still finished sixth on the European sires table by prize money; third by Group winners and first by percentage of black type winners to runners.

He also ended the season as the leading second-season sire in the Northern Hemisphere by black type winners, black type performers and Group/Graded Stakes winners (in this last category he had three times the number of his nearest rival).

At this point Frankel had more Group winners, Group wins and black type winners than Galileo, Dubawi and Sea The Stars at the end of their second seasons.

His stellar first crop produced 15% Group/Stakes winners to foals leaving Frankel as the second-leading sire of three-year-olds in the Northern Hemisphere by Group winners and black type horses behind Galileo but ahead of Tapit, Dubawi, Deep Impact and War Front.

Despite only having two-year-olds and three-year-olds to run for him he still finished sixth on the European sires table by prizemoney; third by Group winners and first by percentage of black type winners to runners.

The success on the racetrack was mirrored by continued success in the sales ring with Frankel having the fifth highest yearling average of any stallion standing in Europe and North America.

He had 25 yearlings sell for an average of £500,000 ($A875,350) with three making seven figure sums - the highest being the 2,500,000gns ($A4.4 million) paid for a filly out of Prowess, a half-sister to Oaks winner Talent Horseform.

Mossfun
Mossfun Picture:Racing and Sports

His 2017 crop to race this year will result in foals out of 503632 G1 winners including Golden Slipper winner Mossfun, Arabian Queen, Attraction, Divine Proportions, Emollient, Finsceal Beo, Natagora, Rizeena, Snow Fairy, Untapable, Zagora and Zenda.

There will also be full or half siblings to 16 G1 winners including Byword Horseform, Cracksman, Golden Horn Horseform, Lillie Langtry Horseform and Rip Van Winkle Horseform.

Crucially for Frankel his success has been achieved across the globe.

He has done particularly well in Japan where his runners include this year’s G1 Yasuda Kinen winner Mozu Ascot Horseform and G3 winner Mi Suerte Horseform, in addition to his first G1 winner Soul Stirring.

In Australia a handful of his runners bred to Southern Hemisphere time include G2 winner Miss Fabulass Horseform and the G3-placed Merovee Horseform.

In America his band of representatives include G2 winner Fashion Business, the G3-placed Gidu and Pebbles Stakes winner Rubilinda.

The versatility of his progeny extends from precocious 2YOs to G1-winning milers and outstanding middle-distance and staying talent, the one omission to date being a European classic winner although Cracksman was third in the Epsom Derby and Rostropovich Horseform was second in the Irish Derby.

Frankel’s future seems assured as he has overcome the uncertainty that afflicts any stallion in his third or fourth seasons with the quality of his books holding steady.

In 2015 the 106 mares he covered 106 mares to Northern Hemisphere time plus eight to Southern Hemisphere time included 72 black-type performers, while his 2016 book comprised 76 black type performers among his 1503632 mares (102 NH time, 28 SH time).

In 2018 a fee increase to £175,000 ($A312,500) for 2018 failed to deter breeders, who between them sent 183 mares. He is set to stand for £175,000 again in 2019.

Galileo has set an unparalleled bar of excellence in the thoroughbred world, just as his sire Sadler’s Wells did before him.

Frankel might not come to exert such dominance but he is emerging as a worthy heir to his outstanding sire. With several outstanding sons already at stud led by Cracksman in the UK and Cunco in South America, there will be ample opportunity for his legacy to take hold.

Cunco
Cunco Picture:Pat Healy Photography


Thoroughbred Racing Commentary



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