Frankel set for crucial workout at Guineas meeting
Those who get to Newmarket on Sunday with time to spare before the 1,000 Guineas card will have the considerable bonus of seeing the best horse on the planet go through his paces before racing.
After a minor injury last month that prompted an easy week or so behind the scenes, Frankel is now back in full work and his build-up to his first race as a four-year-old, the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday fortnight, will include a return to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs.
The colt's workout will, presumably, be less explosive than the extraordinary blitz in last year's 2,000 Guineas that heralded his progress through the season's elite mile races.
But even a champion needs to stay sharp and such awaydays, a change from routine homework surroundings, serve as a reminder of what the job is about, particularly if conducted in the atmosphere of a race meeting.
"At the moment everything is going fine," reported trainer Henry Cecil yesterday, "and hopefully we'll get to the Lockinge."
Frankel will be one heck of an act to follow for those who will line up for the 2,000 Guineas on Saturday. After yesterday's forfeit stage, 22 are still in contention, including the supplemented Talwar, an easy winner on Lingfield's all-weather last month.
Camelot is a short-priced favourite to give Aidan O'Brien a sixth victory in the season's first Classic, backed up by Power and Furner's Green, with Born To Sea and Parish Hall also set to travel from Ireland.
From France, there are four, with Abtaal the most prominent in the betting. The home side's defence is perceived as being headed by Top Offer, yet to race this season, and the Craven Stakes winner Trumpet Major.
O'Brien also trains the market leader for the 1,000 Guineas; Maybe is one of 21 going forward to the final declaration. Again, there is one late entry (for £30,000): Moonstone Magic.
The prospect of easy going on the Rowley Mile was key in the decision -- the filly started her career with a maiden win only 18 days ago and followed up in a soft-ground trial at Newbury.
There was sunshine and a drying wind in Newmarket yesterday, though more rain is forecast. But waterlogged Ascot has cried off and tomorrow's Sagaro Stakes card has been transferred to Kempton's Polytrack.
Tomorrow's meeting at Southwell will have to pass a 7.0 inspection this morning if it is to go ahead. The Nottinghamshire venue is currently waterlogged in places after the recent wet spell, with water pumps aiding the drainage system.
Hereford are to stage a six-race chase card on Thursday after scrapping the hurdles and bumper events due to the wet weather, while Leicester will inspect at 8.0 this morning ahead of Thursday's Flat meeting. (© Independent News Service)