Tuesday 23 January 2018

Optimists should hold fire on Frankel forecasts

You couldn't but be impressed by Frankel at Newmarket on Saturday as he quite emphatically maintained his own unbeaten record and put to shatters two others in the race who only knew what it was like to have horses finish behind them rather than in front of them.

They know now what it's like.

Excuses were offered by connections of dual Group One winner Dream Ahead and Godolphin's supplemented Saamidd, but they were about as valid as 'the dog ate my homework'.

Frankel is developing the reputation of being a beast -- and deservedly so once he is still only earning it.

Punters have to be warned not to get carried away, though.

It is only at this stage next year with his unbeaten record still intact and a string of a few more Group Ones under his belt, will he have earned it.

He is undoubtedly the best we have seen in a season for good two-year-olds but remember back to Sea The Stars who wasn't the best juvenile we saw in an average year for two-year-olds, yet he is now remembered as one of the greatest racehorses we have seen for decades.

Remember back further to Teofilo, again, a superstar of his two-year-old season back in 2006, but never seen in his Classic season as a three-year-old, and it is for that reason that Ladbrokes deserve a small bit of credit.

Ladbrokes are one of the very few bookmaking firms going odds against about Frankel for next season's 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, but even despite their apparent generosity compared to other firms, any of you who are interested at delving in at such odds need your head examined.

Frankel is a worthy favourite and could well mop up a whole host of Group Ones next season starting with the 2000 Guineas, but there is a long winter ahead where unfortunately no matter how much cotton wool you try and wrap the good ones up in, things still go wrong.

But, here's hoping for the sake of the legendary Henry Cecil, the ever improving Tom Queally and for racing in general that Frankel's story is incident free for the next 25 odd weeks and he takes his place in the opening Classic of the season.

The other eye-catching point from Saturday's Dewhurst was the two horses that followed home the great Frankel.

Both Irish and both fancy prices.

Roderic O'Connor and Glor Na Mara both boosted their credentials by following home Frankel, while Casamento and Dunboyne Express will now do battle on Saturday in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, with the former being supplemented yesterday morning.

Jessica Harrington last week ruled her star Pathfork out of a trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile which was a major blow to his American-based owners, yet at the moment he still remains our leading Guineas hope.

Ireland is the home of the second best two-year-old colt of this season, but which one would give Frankel the biggest run for his money is still debatable.

Personally, I think Pathfork would come closer than Roderic O'Connor did on Saturday, and there is only a head between Pathfork and Casamento, both of whom are behind Roderic O'Connor in the 2000 Guineas betting.

But that is all hypothetical at the moment and Saturday's Group One will simply add further fuel to the debate.

Nothing any horse in the Racing Post Trophy will do, will even send a tremor through to Frankel at the top of the market, but a win for Casamento or the highly regarded Dunboyne Express will more than likely see them go clear second favourite.

To conclude on the hype over Frankel, and those who are now suggesting he will eclipse Sea The Stars, should also hold fire.

Cecil has already admitted a Derby tilt may not happen and the thing about Sea The Stars was his class to win over 1m, 1m2f and 1m4f, a versatility that Frankel may not have.

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