Sir Henry Cecil, Frankel’s trainer, has just done an exclusive interview with the Armchair Jockeys for British Champions Series TV on the world’s best racehorse, who returns to action for the first time since last October in the fourth QIPCO British Champions Series race, the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury this Saturday.
Sir Henry on Frankel’s April injury:
“It shouldn’t recur, he’s fine, it was just a hiccup you don’t want.”
Sir Henry on the public gallop on QIPCO 2000 Guineas Day on 5 May:
“The idea was just to get the adrenaline going a little bit. Luckily, thanks to the racing public, there were plenty of people there so it was rather like having a very easy race and the main thing was to get him to settle.
“He’s got a lot of energy. It may take a race to sort him out, but I think as time goes on, like last year, he’ll settle well.”
Sir Henry on Frankel’s likely targets this year:
“We’re obviously going to start at a mile. It’s a question mark at (Royal) Ascot whether we’d go a mile or a mile and a quarter. Maybe he will stay at a mile.
“He will step up (in trip) later in the year, I’m sure. He’s got to tell us it’s the right thing to do. Whether it be Eclipse time or whether it be Juddmonte time, there’s a good chance that he will.
“He’ll tell me what I should do. At the moment I’m rather veering towards two races at a mile, the Lockinge and Royal Ascot, before thinking of going further.
“I think he’ll stay, but then again let’s see how he races, how he settles.
“It would be nice for him to go a mile and quarter. If you’re just taking on the same two or three milers all through the year it’s not the same as hopefully getting on top of them and then having the chance of taking on the mile and a quarter horses. Then you’re taking on the best over two different distances.”
Sir Henry on Black Caviar and the possible QIPCO Sussex Stakes showdown with Frankel at Goodwood on 1 August, which will be worth £1 million thanks to QIPCO if both horses run:
“I have been very impressed by Black Caviar and she’s obviously very, very good and very consistent.
“I would love them to meet because I think it would be good for racing. It would be lovely to have champions from Australia and England taking on each other.
“I think the only race they could possibly meet would be the Sussex.”
Sir Henry on which race Frankel might run in on Britain’s richest raceday, QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 20 October - the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile, a race he won last year, or the QIPCO Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter:
“By that time we’ll have a much better idea whether he gets a mile and a quarter well. We can take it from there. It would be one or the other.
“He could come back from a mile and a quarter to a mile. I think we’ll leave it all open.”
Sir Henry on Prince Khalid Abdulla’s decision to race Frankel for another season:
“It was marvellous for the Prince to keep him in training. A lot of people commercially would have retired him.
“I’m glad he did because I think he’s a stronger horse now and hopefully he will be even better.
“If you have a horse of that calibre, they don’t come along every day and they don’t grow on trees.
“It’s nice to actually see his full potential and the Prince has taken that chance.”