Don’t you just hate it when a trainer of the stature of Sir Henry Cecil tells us that it is not a formality that his horse, Frankel, the highest rated racehorse in the world, will be winning the Group One QEII Stakes over a mile at Ascot on Saturday. Moreover Cecil is not even convinced by the tactics that should be employed by jockey Tom Queally on the 2000 Guineas winner, suggesting that it would be a little unfair on the horse to make the running, like he did in that Guineas run. This could mean that we might see a similar run to that which he put up in the Group One Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in July when he so comprehensively beat Canford Cliffs by 5 lengths.
In this race however, it is fair to say that there is no other horse left standing that is even in the class of Canford Cliffs, which is exactly why the Bookmakers have Frankel as the 1/3 odds on favourite to win the QEII Stakes, odds which are likely to get even worse for punters nearer the race.
Indeed the market ‘doing the business’ at the moment is the one without Frankel, which is topped currently by joint favourites Excelebration and the French raider, Immortal Verse, who are both listed at around the 2/1 mark, with Dick Turpin next best at 7/1.
Having said that there is no horse in the race that would beat Canford Cliffs then it is without doubt that Frankel will win on Saturday. He is unbeaten in eight races, three this season and has won twice over course and distance, firstly in the Group Two, Royal Lodge Stakes as a juvenile and then the Group One St James Palace Stakes on the first day of the Royal Ascot Meeting in June. In two of his eight wins he has had Marco Botti’s Excelebration well beaten, which probably means that if he is to fear any of his rivals in Saturday’s race it has to be the filly Immortal Verse.
Trained in France by Robert Collett, Immortal Verse is clearly progressing, she showed this last time when defeating the brilliant Goldikova in the Group One Jacques La Marois over a mile at Deauville in August. That win was her third over a mile in a row having already won the Group One Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and the Group Two Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly, also in June. She has been rested by Collett since her last effort meaning that she will come into the race very fresh and ready for battle.
However, as good as her form is, her one length success over Goldikova only puts her, at best, level with Canford Cliffs although he had a lot more in hand in his win over Goldikova in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes also at the Royal meeting.
The QEll Stakes therefore looks likely to contradict Sir Henry and will be a formality. Provided that nothing untoward occurs then Frankel will be notching up his ninth career win and will be halfway to bettering the almost unbelievable record of Brigadier Gerard, winner of 17 of his 18 career races, was never beaten over a mile and who won this race twice in 1971 and 1972.