FRANKEL could face one big stumbling block before bowing out in style in front of a sold-out Ascot tomorrow - and that is the weather.
AFTER initially putting to bed any concerns about running on soft ground when trainer Henry Cecil said “he could be even better” on that going, comments from Lord Grimthorpe, Prince Khalid Abdullah's racing manager, gave the first impression that he would not |be tried on heavy ground.
Grimthorpe said: “If it does go over soft and gets heavy we're going into specialist's ground. It's something we'll have to look at, but soft ground isn't a problem.
“If it got really heavy, bottomless - with the wellbeing of Frankel in mind - in the ground we may not go, but I would imagine it would not be like that.”
The forecast is generally good around Ascot up until tomorrow with predictions of about 2mm to hit the course tonight.
However, the clerk of the course at Ascot Chris Stickels said: “Any more rain now and we will be heavy in places on the round course.”
For a long time now the Champion Stakes at Ascot has been billed as the Frankel swansong and with all his work going so well, there was never any reason to think that he wouldn't turn up tomorrow.
His connections were sporting enough to let Frankel race on as a four-year-old when most, if not all, of the big owner/breeder operations would have been glad to get out of 2011 with as much as he did and wrap him up at a |five-star stud somewhere.
On the basis of how he has been treated so far, Cecil and Prince Abdullah will want the public to get the chance to see Frankel one last time and they'll do everything they can to make that happen.
Unfortunately, though, they can do nothing about the ground, so we may just cross everything and say a few novenas that the rain stays away from Ascot and Frankel gets the chance to sign off with a fantastic 14th career win.