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Freak Frankel saves the day

HAVING been a doubter of the Quipco Champions Day when it was first announced, what a fantastic spectacle it turned out to be right through from Fame And Glory winning the long-distance opener, to Frankel in the middle of the card and an apprentice race to sign off.

Next year, hopefully, Frankel will again be putting his unbeaten record on the line at the same meeting - more than likely in the Champion Stakes as he looks set to be stepped up to 12 furlongs - and hopefully by then the meeting will be made up of five Group Ones and the apprentice race.

Frankel's fantastic victory, which brought his unbeaten record for two seasons to nine, proved that he is undoubtedly the best horse in training in the world.

His apt nickname 'The Freak' is one that will certainly stick as long as he continues racing.

As good a day as it was, though, the first Champions Day at Ascot was saved by Frankel and that is despite the other high-class performances and successes on Saturday.

Without Frankel's participation in the QEII Stakes, Saturday would have been in danger of just being remembered for the embarrassing new whip rule introduced into British racing by the British Horseracing Authority, which meant the winning rider of the Champion Stakes left the racecourse fuming and not in a hurry to return, rather than celebrating the utter euphoria of such a prestigious race.

Christophe Soumillon was fantastic in his post-race interview as he slammed the new whip rule, which was discussed today at a meeting between the BHA and the Professional Jockeys Association, but has already cost him his share of the prize-money on Saturday, which was over £50,000.

Not only that, but Soumillon, who rode Cirrus Des Aigles, also got a five-day ban to go wit the five-figure loss of earnings, which could prove vital in his quest to be crowned French champion jockey again this year - something that clearly means a lot to him.

Like Richard Hughes - who missed Champions Day due to handing in his licence of Thursday night - Soumillon was found guilty of hitting his horse six times in the final furlong, one more strike than is permitted under the new ruling.

I challenge anyone to agree with Soumillon's penalty.

Just look at where the furlong pole is situated, in a forest of other similarly designed advertising boards, and look how close he was to it when he used his whip for the first time.

Bearing in mind as well that So You Think is quite a big horse and he was on the inside of Soumillon and the furlong pole, it was almost impossible for him to see the furlong marker.

How amazing it is that a professional organisation such as the BHA can treat its sportsmen and women, who risk life and limb, with such disrespect.

Just look at the GAA for an example. New rules that are passed at congress are tested during the National League.

They are not brought in the week before the All-Ireland final which is effectively what happened in England. The sooner order is restored, the better.