Frankel (4c Galileo-Kind, by Danehill) bowed out in front of a huge crowd at Ascot on Saturday when battling through testing ground in the G1 QIPCO Champion Stakes to make it 14 wins from 14 starts.
The Galileo colt – who was winning his ninth G1 contest – received a huge cheer as he easily passed last year’s winner Cirrus Des Aigles to land the 10-furlong event under Tom Queally and he is likely to be given an end-of-season rating of 140.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Prince Khalid Abdulla, said: “Frankel is the greatest and he has brought a whole new generation of people and a wider audience to the sport. He’s the ultimate equine athlete. He’s been important because he has brought the sport from the back pages of the papers to the front pages. This was a career-defining performance. He was slowly away but the great thing is that he is so relaxed and he got into a rhythm again. He’s unhustled and relaxed and he had a trouble-free run into the straight. I was confident that he’d put the race to bed and that’s what he did.
“I was worried last night when everybody kept ringing me to tell me how much rain there had been at Ascot but Henry (Cecil) was insistent that he would run. When I walked the track this morning I was more than happy. To beat Cirrus Des Aigles and Nathaniel at their optimum distance was a star performance.
“Henry (Cecil)’s re-emergence as a trainer is not just one of the greatest stories in sport but one of the all-time great stories generally. He’s has come back from the Conference to the Champions’ League and Henry is a master of his profession. He is very determined and his handling of this horse is masterly. He was determined to do the right thing by the horse and taught him to settle, which you saw today.”
“Prince Khalid has said that he has run his last race and I think that’s the correct decision in every way. He was a champion at two, three and four and if you haven’t made your mind up about him now then you never will.”
Sir Henry Cecil said: “He was labouring on the ground and not happy on it but he was very relaxed throughout. I have probably got him too relaxed – it used to be the other way. In the end, he had plenty in hand. I cannot believe in the history of racing that there has ever been a better racehorse. I have enjoyed every moment of training him, although it has been slightly stressful at times. He’s the best that I have ever had and the best that I ever seen.”
Jockey Tom Queally added: “Frankel is just getting more and more relaxed as time goes on and he just waited until the gates opened today. He travelled around well and I was happy all of the way. There’s no doubt that he is better on better ground but his class really showed today.
“It’s always a concern – you want every angle covered and everything in your favour. From that respect, there is always a little worry but he was in great heart today and he looked a lot better than this day 12 months ago.”