An array of stars from the world of television, sport and media have come out in force to heap praise on Frankel, in advance of his final appearance at Ascot for QIPCO British Champions Day on Saturday 20th October.
“Leading the tributes was footballer Michael Owen, “Like all athletic greats, Frankel has a knack of making exceptional opposition look inferior, or in his case, proper Group 1 horses shape like mere handicappers. His talent transcends our sport, like no other horse I can remember during my lifetime.
While BBC Sport presenter Clare Balding compared the horse to another sports star, “Every sport needs a jaw-dropper. The kind of athlete who makes you stop and stare. Frankel is racing’s Usain Bolt. He makes it look so easy, it’s almost ridiculous. I feel privileged to have seen him race and I have certainly never seen a better horse in my lifetime.”
“It’s not often you get a sporting legend that’s not human, and even less often for something or someone to be unbeaten throughout a career.” Says footballer Tom Cleverley, continuing, “In football terms, Frankel reminds me of Ronaldo – big, strong, tall, imposing and most of all very fast. An incredible horse.”
The QIPCO British Champions Series is designed to throw the spotlight on Britain’s best Flat races and will climax on October 20th with the richest fixture in British racing history, the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.
The Series features 35 Flat races staged at ten of the UK’s leading racecourses: Ascot, Doncaster, Epsom Downs, Goodwood, Haydock Park, Newbury, Newmarket’s July Course, Newmarket’s Rowley Mile, Sandown Park and York.
It encompasses the top races at British racing’s key festivals, including the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket, the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom, Royal Ascot, the Newmarket July Festival, Glorious Goodwood, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York and the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival at Doncaster.
Frankel makes his final appearance on the last day’s event which has lead to the celebrity celebration of the horse. Others praising the nag include football manager Harry Redknapp who said,
“It’s amazing to have such an incredible horse as Frankel. He’s better than anything else out there, so we’ve all been really lucky to have the chance to see him. It’s also been absolutely brilliant for Sir Henry Cecil – he’s not been in the best of health lately, so I’m really pleased he’s had Frankel to keep his spirits up.”
While BBC Sports pundit Robbie Savage adds, “Frankel’s achievements are the equivalent of Arsenal’s 2003-04 Invincibles side when they won every single one of their matches. Even people with no interest in the sport know all about Frankel as he is a total one off – and a great tribute to his trainer Sir Henry Cecil.”
“I think Frankel is a freak; he has to be the best flat horse of all time.” Said Nick Skelton, Olympic Gold Medallist while Sky Sports’ Alex Hammond added, “Frankel is a phenomenon, a once in a lifetime horse who has made the difficult leap from a star of our sport to a superstar that has transcended racing.”
Even Jeremy Kyle, of ITV fame, is a fan, “The world’s best racehorse trained by the greatest trainer I’ve seen, Frankel and Sir Henry Cecil really are the perfect combination, and in what has been the most remarkable sporting year, their achievements will live long in the memory of all race fans.
“I was fortunate enough to be at Royal Ascot this summer to witness his extraordinary Queen Anne Stakes win, and incredibly he looked even better when stepping up in trip in the Juddmonte International at York. It is entirely fitting that Frankel is the headline act at the second QIPCO Champions Day, as he is without doubt the ultimate equine champion.”
Long-term, the QIPCO British Champions Series aims to attract a wider audience for the UK’s second most attended sport.