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    Frankel: The Unrivaled Thoroughbred Legend
Frankel: The Unrivaled Thoroughbred Legend
Frankel and Tom Quilley, Locking Stakes, Newbury

Frankel: The Unrivaled Thoroughbred Legend

Considered the epitome of equine excellence, Frankel, a bay stallion, holds the esteemed titles of the world's most expensive and top-rated thoroughbred horse. Born on February 11, 2008, at Juddmonte Farm in Newmarket, UK, Frankel emerged as an unbeatable force in the racing world.

Over the course of his illustrious career, Frankel contested in 14 races at the highest level, boasting an unparalleled record of victory in each one. The International Equestrian Federation, responsible for compiling annual rankings of the best racehorses globally, bestowed upon Frankel a rating of 143. This remarkable rating, achieved in 2011, remains the highest ever recorded for a racehorse (source: British Horseracing).

Family Background of the Thoroughbred Stallion

The proud offspring of the European champion three-year-old colt, Galileo, Frankel inherited a legacy of racing excellence. Galileo, with eight victories in a single year, including five Grade 1 races, transitioned into a leading sire in the UK and Ireland during retirement. His remarkable progeny, by 2020, included five Epsom Derby winners, and 85 of his offspring triumphed in Group 1 races, solidifying Galileo's status as the world's most successful sire of Group 1 champions.

Frankel's dam, King, a winner of six out of thirteen races, including three Group 1 races, contributed to his exceptional bloodline. Remarkably, all five of King's foals achieved success on the racetrack. Notable among them are Frankel's brothers, Bullet Train and Noble Mission, both Group 1 racing champions, along with accomplished horses Morpheus and Joyeuse.

Beyond his extraordinary racing prowess, Frankel reached a peak market value of $200,000,000, reflecting the widespread recognition of his unrivalled talent and legacy in the world of thoroughbred racing.

Photo: https://racingportal.blog.hu/
Abdullah Khalid, Henry Cecil, Tom Quilley and Frankel

Owner and Racing Legacy of Frankel

Frankel, the world's most esteemed thoroughbred horse, was owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. The horse was born at Juddmonte Farm, a globally renowned breeder of thoroughbred horses owned by Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud. Juddmonte Farm has branches in the USA, Ireland, and the UK, each contributing to the breeding excellence associated with the Prince's racing endeavours.

In the United States, Prince Khalid Abdullah formed a successful and enduring partnership with trainer Robert Frankel. Frankel, a highly regarded coach, played a pivotal role in the success of Juddmonte's American horses. Notable achievements include victories with Empire Maker in the 2003 Belmont Stakes and Flute, the winner of the 2003 Kentucky Oaks.

Tragically, Robert Frankel succumbed to leukaemia in 2009. In honour of the esteemed trainer, Prince Khalid Abdullah paid a poignant tribute by naming a promising colt after him, ensuring that Robert Frankel's legacy lived on in the stable.

The distinctive colour scheme of Juddmonte's racing jacket, featuring green with white sleeves and a pink ribbon over the shoulder, along with a matching pink helmet, holds an interesting history. Lord Wainstock, a member of the Jockey Club, proposed the idea of basing the design on the colour scheme of Khalid Abdullah's office. This unique attire, worn by jockey Tom Queally throughout Frankel's racing career, became iconic.

Horse racing was a profound passion for Prince Khalid Abdullah, and Frankel held a special place in his heart until the breeder's passing in January 2021. Despite Prince Khalid Abdullah's death, Frankel's legacy endures, and the legendary horse continues to reside at Banstead Manor Stud in Cambridgeshire, symbolising the enduring connection between owner and horse. 

Frankel's Trainer - Sir Henry Richard Amherst Cecil

Sir Henry Cecil stood out as an exceptional trainer, showcasing unwavering determination, a natural affinity for horses, and an ability to navigate the highs and lows of his career. Despite facing setbacks, he rebounded, regaining both clients and reputation. In a July 2011 interview with the British newspaper Independent, Sir Henry Cecil revealed his resilient spirit, stating, "I don’t like to be defeated. Beat depression, keep going!" [source]

His racing stable, Warren Place, earned the reputation of "the most glamorous yard in Europe." Notable figures, including sheikhs, aristocrats, breeders, and businessmen, entrusted their promising yearling horses to Henry Cecil with hopes of transforming them into champions. Cecil lived up to expectations, training over 3,000 winners since 1969, which included 36 European classics and 73 Royal Ascot winners.

Under the guidance of such a distinguished coach, Frankel was destined for greatness. Sir Henry Cecil continued to train the horse even while battling a serious illness. Remarkably, he witnessed Frankel's triumphs, which he credited with giving him renewed purpose. Unfortunately, Sir Henry Cecil succumbed to stomach cancer on July 11, 2013, leaving behind a remarkable legacy in the world of horse racing.

Photo: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/horseracing/
Tom Quilley and Frankel

Tom Queally - Frankel's Jockey

Irishman Tom Queally, Frankel's dedicated jockey and companion throughout their racing journey, describes his experience as growing up with the horse. Beginning his career in horse racing at the age of 15, Tom, who was 26 when he started riding Frankel in 2010, has been deeply intertwined with the sport.

Queally's career commenced in Ireland before he made the move to the UK, where he caught the attention of Henry Cecil, who appointed him as the lead jockey for his stable in 2008.

The first race for Frankel and Tom Queally was the EBF Maiden Stakes on August 13, 2010, at Newmarket—a one-mile race that saw the jockey expertly guide the horse to victory by half a length over Nathaniel, the future winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

This dynamic duo went on to achieve fourteen victories in top-tier races, including the Frank Whittle Stakes, Royal Lodge Stakes, and the 2010 Dewhurst Stakes. Their triumphs extended to the Greenham Stakes, 2000 Guineas, St James's Palace, Sussex Stakes, and the 2011 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Frankel concluded his remarkable five-win streak in 2012 with a victorious run in the Champion Stakes.

The years of collaboration with Frankel elevated the humble Irishman to fame. Following their partnership, Tom Queally continued his career as a jockey, although replicating the level of success achieved with Frankel proved to be a formidable challenge. 

Participation in Breeding

Currently, Frankel holds the distinction of being the most expensive breeding stallion. In 2013, his stud fee was £125,000 to cover a filly, and by 2020, this had increased to £175,000. Notably, the first foal of Frankel, presented at auction in 2014, fetched an impressive sum of £1.15 million.

By 2018, Frankel's offspring boasted 20 winners of group races, placing him second only to his sire, Galileo, in this notable category. Looking ahead to 2024, Frankel's breeding fee is set to reach a record £350,000, surpassing the average cost of a house in the UK.

While Frankel's extraordinary success on the racetrack has concluded, his legacy lives on in the Thoroughbred breeding industry. His progeny continue to inherit his exceptional speed qualities, contributing to the enhancement of the breed and pushing the boundaries of racing horse capabilities.

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