No Frankel Fitness Fears For Cecil
No Frankel Fitness Fears For Cecil
Sporting Life


Sir Henry Cecil is confident Frankel is fit enough to do himself justice ahead of his return to action in Saturday’s JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

The son of Galileo won each of his five starts in 2011, which included victories in the 2000 Guineas, the Sussex Stakes and the QEII Stakes, taking his record to nine unbeaten in all.

An injury scare early last month had connections on tenterhooks for a while, but he was soon back in work.

Frankel is now ready to make his return to the competitive arena after a couple of pleasing racecourse gallops at Newmarket.

“Considering Frankel had a 10-day setback I am pleased with the progress he has made in preparation for the Lockinge at Newbury on Saturday,” the Newmarket handler told

“Some of the opposition have had a race, which is a great advantage, but I feel he has done enough to give a good account of himself.

“One thing I am pretty sure about is that he will come on for the race and will be a stronger and more settled horse this year.”

The horse expected to give Frankel most to think about, Excelebration, has already been beaten three times by the world’s highest-rated racehorse.

However, owner Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, feels Frankel will have to bring his “A-game” to the table if he is to make a triumphant return.

“He’s in great shape and hopefully he’ll progress through the year,” he said.

“The deceptive thing about Frankel is his stride – it’s just how he does it, he does it so easily.

“There is no such thing as a gimme in this sport, so hopefully he’ll bring his A-game to the table.

“His style is his own and we are all very conscious that we have something pretty extraordinary on our hands.

“He worked fantastically well when he went to Racecourse Side the other day and hopefully he can prove himself what we know him to be on Saturday.

“I think and dream of Frankel on a very unhealthy basis! The various scenarios he’s been through in my mind really are quite spectacular.”

Tom Queally has been aboard Frankel for each of his nine victories and was delighted with the colt’s recent gallop at Newmarket.

He said: “It was just to get him out on a racecourse and get him to see something different.

“It’s not that he’s difficult to ride, he’s just a bit keen and he’s got such a big stride, you are a passenger on him.”

Former Marco Botti inmate < b>Excelebration made a winning debut for Aidan O’Brien in the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh under the trainer’s son, Joseph, who retains the ride at Newbury.

“It will be the first time I’ve ridden against Frankel and he is obviously a great horse, so I’m looking forward to it,” said the jockey.

“Excelebration won very well in the Curragh and you’d like to think he’ll improve for that as it was his first run of the year.

“We just go into the race knowing our horse is in good form and we’ll just do our best and see what happens.”

Richard Hannon is keeping a careful eye on the weather as his prime contender, Strong Suit, needs quicker conditions to excel.

“He loves top of the ground. We’ve declared him with that proviso. He’s fine,” said the trainer.

“At his best he’d want the ground to be good, fast ground. If there’s any soft in it he wont run.

“If he doesn’t run on Saturday he’ll probably wait for the Queen Anne at Ascot.”

Hannon has a second string to his bow in Dubawi Gold, and added: “He’s been second to Frankel in the Guineas.

“I suppose he could be second to him again or even third, but we might as well run.”

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