Ascot raises fever pitch for Frankel’s final race
Never before has Ascot witnessed scenes like it as Frankel, the Sir Henry Cecil-trained wonder horse who has done more to raise the profile of Flat racing in Britain than anything that has gone before, returned from the track to a hero's welcome in front of a sold-out capacity crowd.
Everyone held their breath at the start of the race when Frankel was very slow out of the starting stalls, but the roar when he hit the front with a furlong to run nearly brought the house down.
He had to fight harder than he has done in his career before to master the French star, Cirrus des Aigles, but he got the job done in style. This was Cirrus des Aigles' and Nathaniel's favoured ground and Frankel's jockey, Tom Queally, said afterwards that his mount did not appreciate the very soft going. But like the champion that he is, he still won!
Frankel's parade down the course and return to the winner's enclosure after his length and three-quarter triumph was hugely emotional, with many people in tears. He did two laps of honour round the parade ring to thunderous applause as a video played the great moments from his amazing career.
Afterwards it was confirmed that this was his last ever race and he will now go to stud, hopefully to pass on his genes to a new generation of superstars in the future. His trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, praised his star by saying, "He's the best I've ever had. He's the best I've ever seen. I'd be surprised if there's ever been any better."
It was the perfect end to Britain's richest raceday amongst scenes that Flat racing has never witnessed before. It was also the perfect end to the second year of the QIPCO British Champions Series, over which Frankel has reigned supreme - he has won nine Series races while no other horse has managed more than two.
We will miss him, but it has been privilege to watch him race.
We will probably never see his like again.
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