Thursday 23 November 2017

Frankel streaks to victory

FRANKEL entered 11th heaven as he wowed the opening day of Royal Ascot by leaving his rivals for dead in the Queen Anne Stakes.

This dazzling display of equine brilliance was reminiscent of last year's explosive 2000 Guineas victory as he powered to an emphatic success, with old rival Excelebration -- trained by Aidan O'Brien -- hanging on for second.

Despite being eased down by Tom Queally at the finish, the winning margin was 11 lengths, and he is now unbeaten in 11 races.

Afterwards, trainer henry Cecil suggested Frankel will have four more starts before retirement beckons.

"He is a great, great horse. He did exactly what I thought he would, but he is still improving and Tom says he is getting better," said Cecil.

Quite where those next starts will be is up in the air, but the trainer reported a tilt at the Breeders' Cup to be "unlikely" for the wonder horse.

"He looks as though he is going to stay a mile and a quarter and we'll leave our options open," he explained.

"He's in the Eclipse, the Sussex, the Juddmonte -- which is important -- and he will be in the two races here at the end of the year. He could have three more races at the end of the year or he could have four. He'll tell me."

If the opening day is an indicator of how the Irish horses will perform, there's much to look forward to as Jim Bolger and Willie Mullins both visited the winner's enclosure and there were also plenty of placed horses.

Bolger's Dawn Approach made it four from four when he claimed what looked an above-average Coventry Stakes.

The son of the trainer's Derby winner New Approach showed a mix of class and guts to land the spoils under Kevin Manning by three-quarters of a length from Olympic Glory, with O'Brien's Cristoforo Colombo third.

"He's as good as I've had," a delighted Bolger said.

"He has everything. He has pace, he has stamina, he has looks and he has the temperament. There are no holes in this fella.

"I'd say the Futurity Stakes and the National Stakes (are options) and if I can find a space for him in the Dewhurst with the other two-year-olds I have, then maybe the Dewhurst."

Winning hurdler Simenon could run again on Saturday in the Queen Alexandra Stakes after giving Mullins a first winner at the Royal meeting in the Ascot Stakes.

The five-year-old galloped clear of his rivals under Ryan Moore at the end of the two-and-a-half-mile test to win by six lengths from Al Khawaneej. Moore was subsequently banned for three days (July 3-5) after being found guilty of careless riding.

Eddie Lynam's Sole Power was an honourable third behind Little Bridge in the King's Stand Stakes, while the John Oxx-trained Born To Sea was fourth in the St James's Palace Stakes behind Most Improved, trained by Limerick native Brian Meehan.

The concluding Windsor Castle Stakes went to Kevin Ryan's 14/1 outsider, with Tommy Stack's Dylanbaru finishing a respectable third.

Irish Independent

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