Frankel - The Wonder Horse

Frankel is perhaps the greatest horse ever to grace the racetrack. He is the highest-rated racehorse ever, recording a Timeform rating of 147, and boasts an unbeaten record during his 14-race career. Tom Queally rode him on all occasions, amassing a whopping £2,998,302 in earnings, and becoming the only horse to have run to a Timeform rating in the 140s seven times. With 10 Group-1 wins to his name, Frankel is the highest-rated horse since International Classifications began, and I very much doubt we’ll see another horse like him anytime soon.


(All facts correct at time of writing, 31/07/22)


Pedigree -

Galileo: During his racing career, he won three Group-1 races, including the Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, collecting £1,612,270 in earnings for trainer A P O’Brien. Winning over distances between 1m-1m 4f, this is where Frankel’s stamina stemmed from. It wasn’t just on the track, though, where he excelled.

Having sired 91 individual Group-1 winners at the time of his death, and with a breeding fee estimated to be around £300,000, Galileo was the name on everyone's lips. Champion sire in Europe every year for the past 10 seasons, his most successful crop was those born in 2008, which included Frankel. This crop included nine individual winners at the top level, with five winning Classics. At the time of his death in July 2021, he had sired 338 stakes winners, 228 of which were at Group level. By August, he had achieved his 328th European Group race win as a sire, surpassing his sire (Saddler's Wells) who held the record previously.


Kind: During her racing career Kind ran some creditable races at Listed level, winning the Flower of Scotland Stakes and Totesport Fillies’ Stakes, but struggled at Group level, and was retired in 2005 after just 13 runs. Winning over both 5f and 6f, the speed from her pedigree combined with the stamina from Galileo created Frankel, the wonder horse.

Kind was not as successful as Galileo, neither on the track nor as a broodmare, but she played a vital role in creating such a magnificent racehorse. Bullet Train and Noble Mission were, without doubt, her other most notable offspring, but despite their achievements, neither quite possessed the class of Frankel.


Saddler’s Wells: Going further back on Galileo’s side, you find Saddler's Wells, a top-class 1m-1m 4f performer, siring 28 horses who achieved ORs of 120+. Montjeu (135) was the most notable, with 11 wins from 16 runs and £2,263,832 in earnings.


Danehill: On Kind's side you find Danehill, a top-class sprinter-miler who was an excellent source of high-class 2-year-olds and helped to produce a further 12 horses with ORs of 120+. The most notable of these was Dylan Thomas (128) with 10 wins from 20 runs and £3,368,912 in earnings. You could say it runs in the family, but Frankel was on another level, even compared to these!


Record -

Frankel’s record is nothing short of incredible. Beating 23 different Group-1 winners by a cumulative winning distance of over 76 lengths, on ground varying from Good to Firm to Soft, he excelled just about everywhere. Newmarket, Ascot, Goodwood; you name it, he won it. The distances over which he won ranged from 7f-1m 2.5f, with his long stride and natural ability carrying him effortlessly through every race. A CV which includes wins in the 2000 Guineas, Queen Anne Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and two victories in the Qipco Sussex Stakes, Frankel won it all for his trainer Sir Henry Cecil. Winning one of these races is something most trainers can only dream of, but Frankel won the lot for his trainer Sir Henry Cecil!

Most Impressive Wins -

It's hard to just pick a few of his most impressive wins when everything he did was mind-blowing, but for me, his front-running display in the 2000 Guineas and demolition of the opposition in the Queen Anne Stakes stands out the most.

His romp from the front in the 2000 Guineas in 2011 is a personal favourite of mine for the way he went about dominating his opposition. No need for a pacemaker this time as he took matters into his own hands and was at least 10 lengths clear by halfway. Tiring slightly inside the final furlong but keeping up to his work well, he blew the opposition out of the water, eventually winning by some six lengths. Not his widest margin win, but perhaps his most impressive. To take one of the most prestigious British flat races in such a fashion is a testament to what a wonderful racehorse he was. The top-quality opposition was still no match for him as he led them a merry dance and disappeared into the distance. Frankel was in a class of his own.


Going about it differently this time, but in typical Frankel fashion, he annihilated the opposition in the Queen Anne Stakes in 2012. Sat tracking the leaders as he did so often, Frankel was travelling well as Queally moved him to the front with just over two furlongs to go. A shake of the reigns saw him move effortlessly away from the rest of the field, and without ever really needing to be pushed, Frankel was 11 lengths clear when crossing the line. Nothing in the field was a touch on him. That victory was his widest margin win in a Class 1 event and was one of the most impressive victories ever seen on British soil.


His performances in the Juddmonte International Stakes, Qipco Sussex Stakes, and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes should also not be forgotten.


Comments from notable people –

Sir Henry Cecil following his last run in the Champion Stakes at Ascot (2012) – “He’s the best I’ve ever had, best I’ve ever seen. I’d be very surprised if there’s ever been a better one.”


Tom Queally following the pair's victory in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York (2012) – “I won't find another one like him. I could stand here all day and go about trying to describe him, but there aren’t enough words."


Prince Khalid Abdullah following Frankel’s win in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood (2011) – “He is the best I have ever had, including Dancing Brave. I am lucky to have this horse.”


Tony Morris (Leading Bloodstock writer) – “The greatest horse most of us have seen, or will ever see… I’ve never known another horse with such a high cruising speed and the capacity to sustain maximum velocity for so long. He is a phenomenon.”


Jamie Lynch (Timeform’s Chief Correspondent) - "We can all remember one brilliant individual performance, or even two or three with Brigadier Gerard [in 1970-72] and maybe Abernant [between 1948 and 1950], but not six, like Frankel. That sets him apart from any other horse in history. Seven other individual horses have run to a rating over 140 in our history, four did it once, three did it more than once, but none have done it as many times as Frankel has."


Current breeding info/record -

As stated before, it’s not just on the track that people talk about Frankel, he's become something of a world-class breeding stallion too. He has a current stud fee of £200,000 after being crowned leading sire in GB/IRE in 2021 and is 2nd only to Dubawi in Europe in 2022 based on blacktype winners and prize money. With an incredible 10.92% blacktype winners/runners this year, he’s already sired some incredible horses, with 24 individual stakes winners in 2022 and 25 Group-1 winners since being sent to stud. His most notable offspring include Classic winners Adayar (Epsom Derby), Hurricane Lane (Irish Derby, St Leger), Logician (St Leger), Anapurna (Epsom Oaks), Hungry Heart (Australian Oaks) and Soul Stirring (Japanese Oaks). From May 2016 to July 2022, Frankel’s offspring have had 2374 runs, producing 480 wins, and a place percentage of 41.8%. So far, in 2022, he has produced 79 individual winners.


A machine on the track and a talented sire off it, it’s hard to believe that the talent of Frankel will ever be matched. The speed that he possessed to cruise past when other horses were in trouble, and the stamina to sustain it throughout his races, were incomparable. No matter the opposition he faced, the conditions he was running in, or the track he was running at, he overcame them without even needing to break a sweat. The raw talent he possessed was unrivalled, hence being rated “the best since rankings began”, and there aren’t enough superlatives in the world to describe just how amazing he was. One thing is for sure though, he’ll go down in history as one of if not the best ever!

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