Frankel & Co: Factfiles
4 b c Galileo (IRE) – Kind (IRE) (Danehill (USA))
Form: 1111/11111-111 Owner: Khalid Abdulla Trainer: Sir Henry Cecil
Jockey: Tom Queally Breeder: Juddmonte Farms Ltd Born: February 11, 2008
In 11 racecourse appearances, the unbeaten Frankel has more than proved a fitting tribute to the legendary US trainer Bobby Frankel, who provided owner/breeder Khalid Abdulla with a host of big-race victories in America until his death from cancer at the age of 68 in November, 2009. The home-bred son of Galileo is three-parts brother to 2010 Lingfield Derby Trial winner Bullet Train, a five-year-old who acts as his pacemaker these days, and full-brother to three-year-old Noble Mission, a runner in the Group Three bet365 Gordon Stakes on the opening day of Glorious Goodwood.
Frankel made an eye-catching winning debut when readily scoring in a mile maiden on Newmarket’s July Course on August 13, 2010, as he beat subsequent Group One King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes victor Nathaniel by half a length. He built on that promising start when quickening clear of two rivals for a bloodless 13-length victory in a seven-furlong conditions race at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting on September 10 that year. The manner of his win saw Frankel propelled towards the head of the ante-post markets for both the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and the Investec Derby and he showed himself as a juvenile of uncommon ability with a stunning success in the Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes over a mile at Ascot on September 25. Not content with the sedate pace, Tom Queally took up the running entering the straight and Frankel accelerated away from the field with ease to gain an almost effortless 10-length triumph over Klammer.
His trainer then suggested that Frankel was the finest juvenile to have passed through his hands since Wollow in 1975 (who subsequently went on to win the 2,000 Guineas). Frankel’s final start of 2010 came at Newmarket on October 16 in the Group One Dubai Dewhurst Stakes. A strong line-up for the seven-furlong event also included dual Group One winner Dream Ahead and impressive Group Two victor Saamidd. Held up at the rear of the field, Frankel began to make smooth progress with three furlongs remaining, and led before the furlong-pole defeating Roderic O’Connor by two and a quarter lengths in good style.
The runner-up strongly endorsed the form when winning a Group One in France afterwards. Frankel was the joint champion two-year-old in Europe on official ratings with Dream Ahead – rated 126. Frankel reappeared in 2011 in the seven-furlong Group Three Greenham Stakes at Newbury on April 16, when he went to the front passing the three-furlong marker to record a comfortable four-length success over subsequent French Group One winner Excelebration. He started the shortest-priced favourite in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas since Apalachee, third at 4/9 in 1974, going off at 1/2. He galloped his opponents into submission and was over 10 lengths clear before halfway, winning most impressively by six lengths from Dubawi Gold with the field strung out. After this stunning performance, he headed to Royal Ascot for the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes, also over a mile, on June 14 and extended his unbeaten run.
But the victory was not delivered in the manner expected by his legion of admirers. Queally sent the colt to the lead with well over three furlongs remaining and Frankel was six lengths clear with a quarter of a mile to run. After such an explosive mid-race burst however, his speed decreased markedly inside the final furlong, allowing the fast closing Zoffany to get within three quarters of a length at the line. Frankel took on older rivals for the first time in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on July 27, with his main opposition set to come from five-time Group One winner Canford Cliffs in a race billed as the ‘Duel on the Downs’. In reality the mile contest looked distinctly one-sided as Frankel made the running before powering clear nearing the final furlong for an imperious five-length success. Connections briefly toyed with the idea of stepping Frankel up to a mile and a quarter for either the Juddmonte International or the QIPCO British Champions Stakes before going for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Sponsored by QIPCO on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot, October 15, when he cruised to a four-length victory over Excelebration.
The World Thoroughbred Rankings for 2011 handed Frankel a rating of 136, 4lb clear of the outstanding Australian sprinter Black Caviar, making him officially the best horse in the world. He began the current season at Newbury on May 19, when he sauntered to a facile five-length victory over his old rival Excelebration. Despite that deficit being the biggest in four meetings with Excelebration, Sir Henry Cecil was expecting a sharper performance at Royal Ascot and the four-year-old did not disappoint. Frankel faced 10 rivals including Excelebration in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile – the opening race of the meeting – and produced a performance of the highest quality, routing the field for an emphatic 11-length victory. In the aftermath of the performance, Timeform gave Frankel a rating of 147, the highest in the organistation’s 64-year history.
The British Horseracing Authority increased Frankel’s rating to140, 1lb behind Khalid Abdulla’s oustanding 1986 Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner Dancing Brave, while the World Thoroughbred Rankings Frankel is 10lb clear of the next best performer, Black Caviar, also on 140. Frankel has started favourite in all his races and, bar his debut, went off at odds-on. Tom Queally has ridden Frankel every time he has run. Frankel won the Group One QIPCO Sussex Stakes for the second time today, Wednesday, August 1 and it was another devastating performance.
Race Record: Starts: 12; 1st: 12 2nd:-; 3rd:-; Win & Place Prize Money: £1,849,924
Prince Khalid Abdulla(h), who prefers to be known as plain Mr K Abdulla on the racecard, is a first cousin to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He owns extensive racing and breeding interests in America, Britain, France and Ireland. He is a semi-retired businessman who, along with his four sons, presides over a huge conglomerate, the Mawarid Group, in Saudi Arabia and beyond. He developed a love for British racing during the 1960s when renting a house in London and, with the help of former trainer Humphrey Cottrill, had his first winner on May 14, 1979, when the Jeremy Tree-trained Charming Native scored at Windsor.
Born in Taif, Saudi Arabia, in 1937, Abdulla has been one of the most successful owner-breeders in Europe over the past four decades and is the only current owner to have owned and bred the winners of all five British Classics. The first British Classic success came when Known Fact was awarded the 1980 2,000 Guineas on the disqualification of Nureyev. He has won the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas thrice more, thanks to Dancing Brave (1986), Zafonic (1993) and Frankel (2011) who promises to be best of them all, while in 1990 Quest For Fame gave him an initial Investec Derby triumph, followed by Commander In Chief in 1993 and Workforce in 2010. His only Ladbrokes St Leger victory came with the Andre Fabre-trained Toulon in 1991. Abdulla also races with great success in France, Ireland and the United States, where under the Juddmonte Farms banner he won a Triple Crown race in 2003 with Empire Maker in the Belmont Stakes. In 2003, Abdulla became champion owner in both Britain (78 winners) and France (58 winners), while he also finished third in the USA owners’ championship.
The full-sisters out of Hasili, Banks Hill (2001) and Intercontinental (2005), gave Abdulla a notable pair of victories in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, a race he also annexed in 2009 with three-time Nassau Stakes (2009, 2010 & 2011) winner Midday. Hasili also produced the owner’s dual Grade One winning mare Heat Haze, trained by the late Bobby Frankel. 2010 was a superb year and Abdulla finished it as champion owner in Britain (74 winners & prize money of over £3 million) for the second time, while Juddmonte was crowned the top breeder once again. Workforce won both the Investec Derby and Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in great style, while the unbeaten Frankel was crowned joint-champion European juvenile after victory in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes. Special Duty also won two 2010 Classics in the stewards’ room. In the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, she was promoted to first ahead of Jacqueline Quest after finishing a nose second and in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, the filly was awarded first place after coming home the head runner-up to Liliside. Abdulla’s other 1,000 Guineas win came with Wince in 1999.
Twice Over has also been a leading light over the past few seasons, taking the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket in 2009 and 2010 as well as the 2010 Coral-Eclipse and 2011 Juddmonte International. Frankel is probably Abdulla’s greatest horse ever and remains unbeaten in 12 races, eight of which have come at Group One level, including the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes, QIPCO Sussex Stakes (2011 & 2012), Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO and the Queen Anne Stakes. Frankel’s exploits last year played a large part in Abdulla winning another owners’ championship in Britain in 2011 (63 wins and over £3.4 million in prize money). The owner’s Juddmonte breeding operation has nine properties in England, Ireland and Kentucky, including the 373-acre Banstead Manor Stud just outside Newmarket and the 2,500-acre Juddmonte Farms south of Lexington. Juddmonte Farms stand 10 stallions, including Oasis Dream and Dansili, as well as outstanding broodmares in Britain and the US including Hasili, Toussaud and Slightly Dangerous. Abdulla is an honorary member of the British Jockey Club and his daughter was married to the late Prince Fahd Salman, owner of 1991 Derby victor Generous.
His notable horses have included the great Dancing Brave, narrowly beaten in the 1986 Derby but successful in the 2,000 Guineas, Eclipse, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, plus Rainbow Quest, Warning, Danehill, Reams Of Verse, Rail Link, Zafonic, Oasis Dream, Chester House, Observatory, Xaar, All At Sea, Commander In Chief, Sanglamore, Ryafan, Exbourne, Marquetry, Raintrap, Sun Shack, Aptitude, Senure, Tates Creek, Cacique, Ventura and Proviso. Abdulla has over 300 broodmares and a similar number of horses in training. Lord Grimthorpe is his racing manager in Europe and Dr John Chandler oversees his US interests. He has won 10 Eclipse Awards in America as well as plenty of Cartier Racing Awards in Europe including the Award of Merit in 2002.
Sir Henry Cecil
Sir Henry Cecil, who was awarded a knighthood for services to racing in the Queen’s 2011 Birthday Honours List, has been Britain’s champion trainer 10 times and is master of Warren Place Stables in Newmarket. Since taking out a licence in 1969, he has compiled a record of success that ranks him among the pantheon of training legends. He has won 36 European Classics, including 25 in Britain, collected over 400 Pattern successes and saddled well over 3,000 individual winners. He is also the most successful trainer at Royal Ascot, having won 75 races at the meeting.
Henry Richard Amherst Cecil was born in Aberdeen on January 11, 1943, 10 minutes before his twin brother David, with whom he enjoyed a close bond. His father, Captain Henry Cecil of the Welsh Guards, brother of the third Baron Amherst of Hackney, was killed in action in North Africa some two weeks prior to the birth. Henry’s widowed mother Rohays subsequently married royal trainer Sir Cecil Boyd-Rochfort and moved her brood of four boys to Freemason Lodge from the family farm near Newmarket. His formative years at Freemason Lodge stables, along with his brothers Bow, James, David and later Arthur, infused a desire to pursue a life in racing. This was undoubtedly detrimental to any potential academic distractions that may have robbed the sport of one of its most intuitive talents. In his book, On The Level, published in 1983, Cecil recalls at the age of seven being sent to prep school at Sunningdale where, with his twin David, he “went straight to the bottom form and stayed there”.
He failed to get into Eton and spent the remainder of his school life at Canford School in Dorset, which he left with 10 O-Levels, before embarking on a high-spirited year at Cirencester’s Royal Agricultural College, where he and David “studied drinking and gambling”, before leaving without sitting any exams. Henry was destined for a career in stud management until accepting the role of assistant to his step-father in 1964. Two years later he married Julie Murless, daughter of the great trainer Sir Noel Murless. Boyd-Rochfort, the man he called Uncle Cecil, retired at the end of the 1968 Flat season, at which point Henry took over the reins at Freemason Lodge. He did not exactly hit the ground running and it was two months before he sighted the winner’s enclosure. His initial victory as a licensed trainer came on May 17, 1969, when Celestial Cloud was the short-head winner of an amateur riders’ event at Ripon. That success came after a piece of anxious advice from his then father-in-law. After watching the Cecil string work, Sir Noel Murless, never one to interfere, awkwardly declared: “Your horses are galloping like a lot of old gentlemen. You must make them work.” Henry gratefully heeded the advice and big-race glory soon followed with Wolver Hollow in the 1969 Eclipse.
A move to Marriott Stables brought his first European Classic, courtesy of Cloonagh in the 1973 Irish 1,000 Guineas. Bolkonski’s win in the 1975 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket set the ball rolling in Britain. Wollow’s 2,000 Guineas victory a year later came in Henry’s first season training at Warren Place, formerly the yard of his father-in-law, and heralded an era of success that has etched his name indelibly in the annals of racing greatness. As the 1980s dawned, the Henry Cecil legend took shape. Supported by Julie Cecil, head man Paddy Rudkin, travelling head man George Winsor and others, he reigned supreme. He ended the 1979 season as champion trainer with a 20th century record of 128 wins to his name. That was his third title in four seasons, in a year that saw One In A Million land the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and Le Moss and Kris emerge as champions.
The following decade brought five more training titles, while eight individual English Classic winners, including the Derby heroes Slip Anchor (1985) and Reference Point (1987), and the brilliant fillies’ Triple Crown scorer Oh So Sharp (1985), were complemented by champions such as Ardross, Diesis, Indian Skimmer and Old Vic. In 1985, the year of Slip Anchor and Oh So Sharp, Henry became the first trainer in history to pass the £1-million mark in prize money. The 1987 season brought an even more phenomenal feat as Warren Place runners captured 180 races, smashing John Day’s 1867 record of 146. Success continued throughout the next decade with a further clutch of Classic triumphs including four Oaks wins in five years with Lady Carla (1996), Reams Of Verse (1997), Ramruma (1999) and Love Divine (2000).
He produced the brilliant Bosra Sham to be champion filly, nursing her fragile feet with the patience and care with which he is renowned, while enjoying two further successes in the Derby with Commander In Chief (1993) and Oath (1999). The latter’s owner, the late Prince Ahmed Salman, summed up the feeling of many after Oath’s triumph when he said, “winning Classics is easy. You just buy a horse and send it to Henry Cecil”. The years have seen many of his owner-breeders pass away, while the loss of Sheikh Mohammed’s patronage in 1995 was an undoubted blow. The numbers housed at Warren Place fell dramatically from a peak of near 200, so that by midway through the decade 2000 to 2010 Henry Cecil was no longer seen as a force in the contests that mattered. Owners deserted him, though notably Khalid Abdulla and the Niarchos Family remained loyal. The family standard, run up the flag pole after each Group One win, gathered dust for over six years after Beat Hollow’s Grand Prix de Paris win in 2000. In 2006, however, a corner was turned as Multidimensional gave Henry his first Pattern success in four years. October of that year marked a return to the top table as the Khalid Abdulla-owned Passage Of Time captured the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud. Classic success made a welcome return to Warren Place in 2007 when Light Shift, owned by the Niarchos Family, clinched an emotional success in the Investec Oaks, while Midday went close to handing the stable a ninth victory in the premier fillies’ Classic when a close runner-up to Sariska in 2009.
The Khalid Abdulla-owned filly subsequently proved a bona fide superstar, with an unprecedented three victories in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in 2009, 2010 and 2011 as well as the Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille in 2010. She also provided Henry with a first success at the Breeders’ Cup when landing the 2009 Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita. Twice Over has also been a standard bearer for Warren Place over the past few seasons, taking the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket in 2009 and 2010 as well as the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in 2010 and York’s Juddmonte International in 2011. The unbeaten Frankel is the latest superstar on the block, having won 12 races, eight of which have come at Group One level (the Dewhurst Stakes, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the St James’ Palace Stakes, the QIPCO Sussex Stakes (2011 & 2012), the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, the JLT Lockinge Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes). He is rated the top horse in the world and Henry Cecil believes he is the best he has ever trained. As well as housing equine superstars, Warren Place was also the haunt of champion jockeys, with Joe Mercer, Lester Piggott, Steve Cauthen, Pat Eddery and later Kieren Fallon each doing their bit and enjoying the spoils of the master trainer’s meticulously-planned campaigns. Nowadays, the talented young Irishman Tom Queally is the jockey proving his worth atop Cecil-trained contenders.
The record books do not lie and Henry Cecil rewrote them as he cultivated and nurtured a string of champions. He is a trainer of great flair – a gifted horseman with an exceptional ability in assessing a horse, and possesses a rare instinctive genius that enables him to appreciate potential far earlier than most. He is also the focus of great fascination, particularly among the media – a champion trainer with a penchant for gardening and fine clothes. He has fought cancer over the last few years and married Jane McKeown, his third wife, in 2008.
Tom Queally, born on October 8, 1984, has come a long way since riding his first winner on the John Roche-trained Larifaari at Clonmel on April 13, 2000, when 15. He was crowned Ireland’s champion apprentice the same season. From Dungarvan in County Waterford, where his father Declan combines farming with a small training operation, Tom was out hunting on his pony by the age of seven. After a spell showjumping, he was a leading figure on the pony racing circuit by the age of 13 and was apprenticed to trainer Pat Flynn two years later.
The apprenticeship was terminated when Queally’s parents insisted he finish his leaving certificate at school. At the end of a quiet 2002, when apprenticed to his father, he moved to Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle, winning the following year’s Group Three Ballysax Stakes on Balestrini. With the help of owner/trainer Barney Curley, he moved to Britain in 2004 and joined David Loder’s Newmarket stable, becoming British champion apprentice that year. He won the 2008 Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom aboard Lady Gloria and is now attached to Henry Cecil’s Warren Place stable.
Since his move to Cecil’s yard, he has recorded significant victories on Midday, who finished runner-up in the 2009 Investec Oaks before going on to claim the Group One Nassau Stakes at Goodwood (2009, 2010 and 2011), the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (2010), Qatar Prix Vermeille (2010) and the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (2009). Twice Over has given him success in the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (2009 and 2010), and the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (2010). In 2009, he also won two Group One sprints, partnering the Michael Bell-trained Art Connoisseur in Royal Ascot’s Golden Jubilee Stakes (Queally’s first top level win) and Fleeting Spirit, trained by Jeremy Noseda, in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket. He has partnered Frankel on all the colt’s 12 appearances, including Group One wins in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (2010), QIPCO 2,000 Guineas (2011), St James’s Palace Stakes (2011), QIPCO Sussex Stakes (2011 &2012), Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) (2011), JLT Lockinge Stakes (2012) and Queen Anne Stakes (2012).
I’m indebted to my friends at racenews who compiled this factfile