Grimthorpe: Olympics show even best fall short
Wednesday 1 August 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
There seems little that can stop Frankel in the Qipco Sussex Stakes on Wednesday but Lord Grimthorpe has seen several hot favourites bomb out of the London 2012 Games this week and is not getting complacent.
Frankel trades at a best-price 1-16 to account for his three rivals in defence of the title he won last season from Canford Cliffs in a similarly small field affair.
The unbeaten colt is just 7-2 with Paddy Power to win by more than ten lengths but Grimthorpe remained professional when analysing what stood in the way of another procession for the horse of a lifetime.
“I know everyone thinks it is easy but with any horse race it all has to go well,” the racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah said today. “It’s like the Olympics. Some people just fall short, for whatever reason, so everything has to go right.”
In the first 37 years of the Sussex Stakes there were 14 walkovers and it wouldn’t take the greatest stretch of the imagination to see Frankel record another. He has 18lbs in hand of Farhh, his only realistic challenger, which is the equivalent of 10 lengths and Grimthorpe refuted the suggestion that the team were shying away from more difficult confrontations.
“If we win by 25 lengths we’ll be delighted but we just want a good solid race,” Grimthorpe added.
“We’re not dodging the issue at all. His programme has always been mapped out and anyone can take us on. "It was never destined to be an enormous field, so what can you do? I think you can only beat what is put in front of you and do the best you can.
“We want to give Frankel the chance to be the best he can be. Everyone wants us to go for the Melbourne Cup to the July Cup but it’s really about great performances.
“Since I’ve been a child I’ve dreamed of a horse like this. There is no point in panicking and worrying now – I sleep well in these situations. Prince Khalid is tremendously excited by this and we don’t really talk about anything else.”
Last season Frankel brushed aside Canford Cliffs to be named the world’s best miler and 12 months on as the world’s highest-rated horse at 140 he is unlikely to reach such heights this time around against horses unproven at the highest level.
"I don't think Frankel will better his rating over a mile is my honest opinion,” Dominic Gardiner-Hill, the British Horseracing Authority's mile handicapper, said.
"He has blown away the competition that is there at a mile and I don't think Excelebration will ever be the same horse again after the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
"I think Frankel has only ever beaten two horses rated over 120 in his career, so there is really nothing left for him to prove over a mile.”
Farhh was supplemented into the mile contest for £19,500 on the advice of Sheikh Mohammed and Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager was mindful of the task that faces his improving four-year-old.
"The Goodwood track is a big question mark for him but the timing of the race suits us a lot more than waiting for another couple of weeks for Deauville,” he said.
"Maybe we will be able to get a five-length start from Frankel or even a 10-length start! If we could organise this, we would have a great chance!”