JLT Lockinge Stakes
Date | 19 May 2012
Course | Newbury
Age | 4yo
Distance | 8f
Going | Good
Place | 1st
Winning margin | 5 lengths
3rd Dubawi Gold
Racing Post analysis:
A straightforward reappearance for the brilliant FRANKEL, who wasn´t seriously tested as he improved his record to a perfect ten. The pace, set by the winner´s stablemate (and half-brother) Bullet Train, looked just ordinary by top-level standards, but Frankel still settled better than was often the case last year, just in behind, before drawing away without being challenged.
It was somewhat bizarre the Ballydoyle second-string, Windsor Palace, played no worthwhile part, instead racing more or less alongside Excelebration, who was always behind the winner with no prospect of giving him anything to worry about. But then how do you beat this great horse? Even if Windsor Palace had helped force a stronger gallop and/or Excelebration had raced ahead of Frankel, the outcome would almost certainly have been the same.
Sir Henry Cecil´s colt had already proven himself the best miler around, and the uncompetitive nature of this race means it would be dangerous to suggest we learnt anything new, but it is possible he´s even better this year. He defeated the race-fit runner-up and third by even further than in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, while Bullet Train, more sensibly ridden this time, was beaten by an identical margin. That´s despite Frankel having missed work when suffering a career-threatening setback in April, suggesting he can rate higher.
He´s likely to be kept at 1m for the Queen Anne, but that should be another procession against the same old faces, and the hope is that we seesomething different this season. A dream match with Black Caviar seems unlikely, but he should have no trouble staying 1m2f, so a step up in trip would be a start, and the latest Classic crop will presumably have a crack at him in due course. In the longer term, a horse billed as the world´s best deserves to prove himself outside of Britain.
Excelebration didn't achieve much when winning a 7f Group 3 at the Curragh on his debut for Aidan O´Brien, and he proved no match for his old rival. He could do with the winner moving up in trip sooner rather than later.
Dubawi Gold had excuses for his first two starts of 2012 and this was better, but he was still outclassed. He will want to avoid the front two in future.
QUOTES: Sir Henry Cecil, trainer of Frankel: "He has quickened really well and done it very easily. His first race is never his best but he had to have a run somewhere before Ascot. He´s had a good blow and looking back at his last two seasons I´m absolutely certain that he´ll come on quite a lot for the race. All being well, he´ll probably tackle a mile and a quarter as the season goes on but there´s no hurry."
Selected Media Articles
20 May 2012: Racing Post - Wow! What a season it's going to be
(PDF file, 3.67 MB)
20 May 2012: The Independent - Fabulous Frankel has both heart and mind
16 May 2012: Betfair.com - Lockinge Stakes: Frankel poised to explode05 May 2012: The Guardian - Henry Cecil reports Frankel is Lockinge-bound