Juddmonte Farms

FRANKEL A RISING STAR AT STUD

Taken from the Thoroughbred Daily News, 29th November 2018. By John Berry

There were two seemingly opposing views to take about the champion's forthcoming stud career when FRANKEL brought down the curtain on his sublime racing career by sauntering home in the Gr.1 QIPCO Champion Stakes on 20th October 2012.

He was taking his record to 14 from 14, leaving the tens of thousands of misty-eyed worshippers who had made the pilgrimage to Ascot to bid their hero farewell convinced that they would never see such a paragon again. On the one hand the rhetorical question: 'How could a horse this great fail to become a great stallion?' On the other, the down-to-earth reality check: 'The only certainty is that he will never sire a horse as good as himself.' In fact, both points are entirely valid. It is almost certain that Frankel will never sire a horse as great as he was. Nor, indeed,will any other stallion.

Galileo has sired one, and only one, horse of Frankel's class,but it would be hoping for lightning to strike twice for him to do so again.

But, at the same time, the benchmark of a successful stud career is far lower than the ability to sire the best horse anyone has ever seen. Galileo would still be an all-time great sire even if Frankel had never been born. And, as we know now that we have the accumulated evidence of three seasons of form on which to base our verdict, Frankel is indeed shaping up as a great stallion.

There is both entertainment and education to be had every season in keeping an eye out each day for runners by first-season sires. During the 2016 season, such scrutiny became an obsession for many of Frankel's fans, who would scan the entries each day to find horses not by first-season sires in general, but by one in particular. Running tallies were kept, and nobody was disappointed: when the first Frankel two-year-olds starting running, they started winning. And that has been the norm ever since then.

All eyes were on Cunco when the John Gosden-trained colt lined up at Newbury on 13th May 2016. He didn't let his father down. Cunco then went to Royal Ascot the following month, finishing third to subsequent dual Classic winner Churchill in the Chesham Stakes. Another of Frankel's early winners, Fair Eva, scored on debut at Haydock on 8th June and then became her father's first stakes winner by taking the Gr.3 Princess Margaret Stakes over six furlongs at Ascot on 23rd July.

Queen Kindly started off in similar vein, winning easily on debut over five furlongs at Catterick on 3rd June before finishing a close third at Royal Ascot in the Gr.3 Albany Stakes. She subsequently became Frankel's second group winner when taking the Gr.2 Lowther Stakes at York's Ebor Meeting, beating Roly Poly with Fair Eva in third.

Further stakes winners followed as summer turned to autumn. Frankuus had scored on debut at Haydock Park on before going on to take the Ascendant Stakes at the same course and the Gr.3 Prix de Conde at Chantilly. Toulifaut took her record to three-from-three when taking the Gr.3 Prix d'Aumale at Chantilly. In Japan, Mi Suerte landed the Gr.3 KBS Kyoto Sho Fantasy Stakes before Soul Stirring became Frankel's first Group 1 winner when taking the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies Stakes in December.

This was all very promising. How, though, would his stock fare as they got older? Well, it didn't take long before we knew. Eminent, successful in a maiden race at Newmarket on his only appearance at two, landed the Gr.3 Craven Stakes over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket's first meeting of 2017. Eight days later Cunco showed that he had progressed from two to three when winning the Gr.3 Classic Trial at Sandown. The following month Soul Stirring became Frankel's first Classic winner by taking the Gr.1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) in Tokyo.

Cracksman, a winner on debut at Newmarket as a two-year-old and successful as a spring three-year-old in the Investec Derby Trial Stakes at Epsom, nearly followed Soul Stirring's example in Europe, finishing third in the Derby and second (beaten a neck) in the Irish Derby. Eminent won the very valuable Gr.2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano over 2000m at Deauville after having finished fourth in the Derby. Frankuus and Queen Kindly both won black-type races. Cracksman enjoyed a stellar autumn, taking the Gr.2 Great Voltigeur Stakes over 12 furlongs at York by six lengths, the Gr.2 Prix Niel over 2400m at Chantilly by 3.5 lengths and the Gr.1 QIPCO Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs at Ascot by seven lengths, slamming the multiple Group 1 winners Poet's Word, Highland Reel and Recoletos. 

At the same time, Frankel's second batch of juveniles were making a similarly good impression, including Gr.2 Futurity Stakes winner Rostropovich, Gr.3 Champions Juvenile Stakes winner Nelson and Gr.3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes winner Elarqam. The first two of those won Classic trials this spring, while Elarqam finished a close fourth in the 2000 Guineas. Cracksman continued to embellish his record through 2018, landing the Gr.1 Prix Ganay (by four lengths) and the Gr.1 Coronation Cup in the spring before signing off with a second Gr.1 QIPCO Champion Stakes (by six lengths) in the autumn, taking a record of 11 wins and three minor placings from 14 starts with him to Dalham Hall Stud.

Two days after Cracksman's Coronation Cup victory, the Frankel four-year-old Mozu Ascot became the stallion's second Japanese Group 1 winner by taking the Yasuda Kinen over 1600m in Tokyo. Later in June, Frankel was the leading sire at Royal Ascot where the three-year-old miler Without Parole took the Gr.1 St. James's Palace Stakes and Monarchs Glen recorded his third black-type triumph by landing the Wolferton Stakes Another Frankel four-year-old to thrive through the summer was Mirage Dancer, winner of the Gr.3 Glorious Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He could add further laurels to Frankel's crown at next month's Hong Kong International Meeting at Sha Tin. Finche, too, has continued to thrive as a four-year-old. Winner last year of the Gr.2 Prix Eugene Adam over 2000m at Maisons-Laffitte, he took the Gr.3 Prix de Reux over 2500m at Deauville this August and most recently finished an excellent fourth in the Gr.1 Lexus Melbourne Cup in Australia. Another Frankel four-year-old stayer, Call The Wind, took the Gr.1 Prix du Cadran at Longchamp in the autumn; while Fashion Business took the Gr.II Del Mar Handicap in August.

It is now clear that Frankel is the complete stallion, producing high-class horses all the way across the distance spectrum who often show both precocity and the ability to progress further as they mature. Obviously he has had the assistance of full books of very good mares, but plenty of top-class racehorses have been bountifully patronised at stud without taking advantage to anything like the extent that Frankel has done. His achievements to date are astounding for a horse with only three years of runners behind him, particularly a horse who has never shuttled.

It should, incidentally, be pointed out that Frankel has covered sizeable books of mares to Southern Hemisphere time, the most notable product to date being this season's Gr.2 Tea Rose Stakes winner Miss Fabulass, a daughter of the 2008 VRC Oaks heroine Samantha Miss. Frankel has sired winners in at least 12 different countries, with group/graded winners in six of those. Having reached the milestone of 20 Northern Hemisphere group/graded winners faster than any other European stallion in the history of the pattern, he has to date been represented by 25 individual group/graded winners, five of whom have scored at Group 1 level. His progeny tally of Group 1 victories stands at nine, backed up by nine Group 2 triumphs and 19 Group 3 wins. He is currently sitting on the mind-bogglingly good ratio of 27% blacktype performers/runners.Furthermore, he seems compatible with a wide range of mares, these 25 group/graded winners coming from the daughters of 23 different stallions, with only Pivotal and Kingmambo featuring as the dams of two such horses. An abnormally talented racehorse who displayed brilliant speed despite having a pedigree replete with stamina--as typified by his granddam Rainbow Lake who won the Gr.3 Lancashire Oaks by seven lengths--Frankel was Europe's best 2-year-old in 2010. As a three-year-old he was even better, and at four he was out of this world. He has now demonstrated that he is capable of passing on his own precocity and his own progressiveness, of passing on both speed and stamina; and he is doing so with almost metronomic regularity.

Date: 29 November 2018