Frankel set for 'away-day' at Newbury
Fans of Flat racing's big star, the unbeaten Frankel, will be glad to know that their hero has not merely come through the winter well, but so well that a public appearance has had to be planned ahead of his first scheduled race, the Lockinge Stakes in mid-May.
In order to keep the lid on the colt's growing exuberance, trainer Henry Cecil will give him an away-day from the Newmarket gallops. The bonus for racegoers will most likely be at the scene of next month's Group One mile feature, Newbury, at the track's first Flat meeting of the season in 16 days' time.
"We've done a lot of conditioning work with him," said Cecil yesterday of the four-year-old, "and we've started stronger work.
"But he's a precocious type, wants to get on with things, and he can get a bit above himself. It's a long time until the Lockinge and you can't keep asking and asking at home.
"What he needs at this stage is an easy race, and a trip to Newbury will be like that.
"He can stay overnight, have a gallop on the course and a look at everything, be told how great he is, and have a few quiet days. It all fits in well with his schedule."
Frankel's trademark electric brilliance is being tempered by maturity.
"He is growing up mentally as well as physically," added Cecil.
"I've had the challenge of strong-headed, hyperactive horses before and found that sometimes that sort hasn't got a brain.
"But this one is intelligent. The most important thing has been to teach him to relax and he's starting to learn that he can save himself for when it matters."
Khalid Abdullah's colt has yet to race beyond a mile but, though the step up to 10 furlongs this year is expected, the details of the Galileo colt's campaign beyond the Lockinge Stakes has yet to be set in his diary.
"The races are there," said Cecil. "The Queen Anne or the Prince of Wales at Royal Ascot, the Eclipse, the Sussex Stakes, the Juddmonte International. But he'll be the one to tell us where to go and when or if he's ready for the extra distance."
Cecil was speaking at an occasion in London to promote the mixed meeting at Sandown that marks the end of the jump season at the end of this month. Another of the sport's icons, Kauto Star, will be on parade and he, too, is in bouncing form after being pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup with a tweaked muscle.
"He's so well in himself we've had to start cantering him to settle him," said trainer Paul Nicholls.
"He'll enjoy his day out and then he'll be off on his summer holidays. We'll make a decision about his future in due course, but we won't be rushing into it."
Meanwhile, Hayley Turner is to join Canadian stars Chantal Sutherland and Emma-Jayne Wilson to form the first ever female team at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot on August 11. Turner is Britain's most accomplished lady rider.
She has plenty of assistance through Wilson, who has ridden in the Shergar Cup once before and is one of the top jockeys in Canada, while the glamorous Sutherland rode a Grade One winner in the USA last year and also competed in last week's Dubai World Cup.
They will be against three male teams, representing GB&I, Europe and the Rest of the World. James Doyle gets an automatic invitation as a result of winning the Dubai Duty Free and will make his Shergar Cup debut for the GB&I team.
The remaining riders will be announced in due course. (© Independent News Service)