Excel out to star in QEII
Friday 19 October 2012
With no Frankel in opposition, Excelebration has the chance to flaunt his undoubted ability in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The four-year-old, trained by Aidan O'Brien, has been beaten five times by Frankel, including twice this year, but with Sir Henry Cecil's superstar having stepped up a mile and a quarter, Excelebration has a golden opportunity to prove himself the top miler in Europe in this Qipco-sponsored Group One.
Runner-up to Frankel in this race 12 months ago, when handled by Marco Botti, he showed his class with a smooth victory in the Jacques le Marois at Longchamp in August.
O'Brien told BCTV: "We've been happy with him since the last day. He had a busy enough campaign early on and met Frankel twice, but we were delighted with him in France and he seems well since.
"He's been in good form since his last run and the QEII was the race we were looking at. It's so far, so good with him. He's a very good horse. He was a very good horse last year and the year before. He's run some great races this year."
Carlton House was a disappointment in the Summer Mile on this course when dropped in distance from a mile and a quarter, but connections of The Queen's colt are expecting a better performance from the Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old this time.
"He didn't settle in the Summer Mile but he is in good form and we are looking forward to seeing him run. I wouldn't think any of the horses would like the ground to be bottomless but I don't think that we are too concerned about the going," said The Queen's racing and bloodstock adviser John Warren.
Stoute added: "He's nice and fresh and I'm hopeful of a good run."