herald

Saturday 23 August 2014

Frankel 'is just one of the boys'

FRANKEL is adapting well to life after racing, with Banstead Manor Stud reporting enquiries from around the globe for his services as a stallion.

Just two weeks after leaving Henry Cecil's Newmarket stable, the horse regarded by many as the greatest of all time is settling into his surroundings at his owner Prince Khalid Abdullah's premises in Cheveley, just four miles outside the renowned training centre.

No other male member of the Juddmonte band has arrived with such a reputation or would have been able to command a fee of £125,000 with their prowess unproven. But breeders are already queuing up with blue-blooded mares.

"He's the most intelligent horse, very curious to see what's going on," said Banstead's general manager, Philip Mitchell. "He's settled in well and is just one of the boys. He's no longer up there (at the top), he's the new kid on the block.

"You've got to be realistic," he said. "The statistics tell us only one in nine or 10 horses to go to stud are successful."

Connections of Mount Athos are hoping the five-year-old can capitalise on a good draw in Sunday's Japan Cup to make amends for an unlucky run in the Melbourne Cup.

The Luca Cumani-trained gelding has been handed stall five in the Group One at Tokyo.

"The draw is very good news," the horse's owner Dr Marwan Koukash said. "I was a bit disappointed we didn't win the Melbourne Cup, but you have to consider him the unluckiest loser that day."

New Year's Eve and Cotton Mill are both set to return to the track at Sandown on December 8, according to trainer John Ferguson.

"New Year's Eve is in great nick and the plan is to start him off in a novice hurdle at Sandown on Tingle Creek day," said Ferguson.

"Cotton Mill is also in good form and the plan is for him to run at Sandown on the same day in a Listed race called the December Handicap Hurdle."

Tom Cooper believes testing conditions were to blame for Forpadydeplasterer's disappointing performance in last weekend's Paddy Power Gold Cup. Cooper said: "The ground was just totally against him on the day. We'll be gearing him towards the spring, when hopefully he'll show his best."

Olofi is to be aimed at the Ladbroke at Ascot on December 22, following his win in the Racing Post Hurdle at Cheltenham.

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