Horse of the Year, Horse of the Century, Horse of the World. Unbeaten champion, son of a great sire and sire of sires. A horse of exceptional character and strength, Frankel received the highest ever rating from the decades’ old Timeform organization. For talent, pedigree, and physical presence, Frankel stood apart.
So, how has he done at stud?
From seven crops of racing age, Frankel has logged 100 stakes winners already. Among them are Japanese champion Soul Stirring (Japan Oaks), Aussie star Hungry Heart (Australian Oaks), and European highweights Cracksman (Champion Stakes twice) and Hurricane Lane (Irish Derby). Other offspring of the great champion have won the English Derby (Adayar), Oaks (Anapurna), Irish 1,000 Guineas (Homeless Songs), Irish Derby (Westover), and Prix de Diane (Nashwa). With more than two dozen Group 1 or Grade 1 winners, that is only scratching the surface of quality performers by last year’s leading sire in England.
In addition to breaking the century mark for stakes winners, over the last week, Frankel had a pair of Group 1 winners (Inspiral, Prix Jacques le Marois; Alpinista, Yorkshire Oaks), a G3 winner (Chaldean, Acomb Stakes), a pair of G2 seconds (Hans Anderson, Futurity Stakes at the Curragh; With the Moonlight, Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga), plus a second (Time Lock, Galtres Stakes) and a third (Martel, Prix Michel Houyvet) in listed stakes.
The sire’s 100th stakes winner came on Aug. 17 with Chaldean, the winner of the G3 Acomb Stakes at York.
Chaldean, a flashy chestnut, sold for 550,000 guineas at the Tattersalls December foal sale. Consigned by breeder Whitbury Manor Stud, the handsome colt was purchased by Juddmonte Farms, which races him.
A mid-May foal, Chaldean has been given the opportunity to show his talent at 2 but will not be overtaxed. Juddmonte’s racing manager Barry Mahon said that, “I’d imagine he has quite a bit more developing and growing to do. So we won’t overrace him this year.”
The racing manager noted that Juddmonte would purchase 10 or fewer horses annually, but that “when we see something that looks nice and can enhance our stable, the family are keen to add to it. [Chaldean] will have no problem staying a mile, and who knows, he could even get a bit further next year.”
In addition to the promise and potential of Chaldean, Frankel has one or more racers in contention for leadership of nearly every division in European racing. Winner of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, Inspiral made a bold statement of her position among all milers with a brave victory in the Marois, and Alpinista, now the winner of five G1 races, may try to scale an even higher peak: to be the best horse in Europe, bar none.
The gray 5-year-old is pointed for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and would be one of the stronger contenders. Certainly, trainer Mark Prescott is making no secret of his ambitions for the lovely mare bred and owned by his long-time client Kirsten Rausing of Lanwades Stud.
The trainer has plainly stated he has two wishes for the Arc: quick ground and no Baeed. The latter is most likely going to the Champion Stakes; so Prescott is halfway home on his wish list.
A victory for Alpinista in the Arc would be a long-awaited vindication for those who believed that, under similar course conditions, Frankel himself could have won the race. For most of his career, Frankel was viewed as a miler, and indeed he was and was an extraordinary one too. The steady hand and watchful eye of trainer Henry Cecil kept the great horse at his peak and delivering winning performances, and when they set him new tasks as a 4-year-old in the Juddmonte International at York and the Champion Stakes, Frankel was both ready and superb.
Sent to stud at Juddmonte Farms’s Banstead Manor in Newmarket, Frankel has been a steady draw for racing fans and breeders looking for foals of high ability. Although some observers quibbled and squawked about the stallion’s early foals and yearlings, because they came in all colors and shapes, the test that mattered was the one on the racecourse.
Frankel and his offspring have answered that in the same fashion that the great horse did in each of his races, and he has proven the co-fastest sire to 100 stakes winners, in a tie with his grandsire Danehill.
There are further fields of glory and more conquests to make. Two of the steepest challenges are 1) getting a racehorse equal to himself and 2) getting sons and daughters who carry on the next generation at the highest level. Whereas the first is nearly impossible, I’d say the second is becoming more probable every day.