Racing: Is he really the greatest racehorse of all time? The debate will rage on about Frankel even when he retires tomorrow afternoon following his final career run in the Champion Stakes at Ascot, due off at 4.05.
My own view puts the great US champion Secretariat ahead of him for pure versatility but it has been a blast with Sir Henry Cecil’s horse, even though for my money he has been sometimes overhyped.
We all want to see Frankel go out in a blaze of glory with his final appearance on a racecourse.
But what a shame connections won’t run him as a five-year-old and haven’t really been adventurous enough during his third season in training by sending him further afield for a global campaign — it’s not as if they need the money by sending him to stud now and playing relatively safe during his 2012 campaign.
It’s no good for the piggy bank backing him at odds of 2/9 though, so for those of you looking for an upset it may well come in the chase for second place and I fancy that Pastorius (each-way) could edge out Cirrus Des Aigles and Nathaniel for that position.
The key question here is which of that trio is prepared to try to take on Frankel early on. If the French horse does that, Gosden’s charge is sure to bring his stamina into play early on as well, meaning that the German Derby winner could be in a position to pick up the pieces.
Only two favourites have won the Champions Sprint (2.20) in the last 10 years and at the end of a long, hard season for these speedsters, a literal translation of form is a dangerous road to go down.
What cannot be disputed is that, based on the best horse in the race scenario, Society Rock is top of the pile and he landed another big pot for connections in the Haydock Park Sprint Trophy under an awesome ride from Kieren Fallon.
We all know his Ascot record is out of this world and a reproduction of that run should see him reverse Diamond Jubilee placings with the French-trained Restiadargent with Sirius Prospect a bigger danger.
With Great Heavens set to run it gives us the chance to get around 7/2 on Sapphire for the Champions Fillies and Mares at 2.55.
Dermot Weld has kept her fresh for an autumn campaign on the soft ground she adores and with John Gosden’s charge having had a rough ride in the Arc, which was an afterthought, I am fairly confident this will go to Ireland.
Elsewhere, if his jumping holds up I expect a big run from the Irish raider Jamsie Hall in the 2.30 at Cheltenham, while the best bet on the card could come in the form of Hi Note in the four-year-old hurdle at 3.05.
At Catterick, Partner looks an interesting choice in the big sprint starting at 2.50, while perhaps the best wager in the floodlit meeting at Wolverhampton could well be McBirney in the extended nine furlong event at 6.50.
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