The Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 20 will be the last opportunity for racegoers to see the sensational, unbeaten Frankel in action before he retires to stud, and also appears to be the intended target for the high-class Nathaniel, who will also end his racing career in the feature 10 furlong contest, writes Elliot Slater.
Trainer John Gosden confirmed that Nathaniel is already over the high temperature that forced him to miss the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but was able to confirm that all being well the son of Galileo will have his final racecourse outing against Frankel at Ascot, bringing full circle the careers of the two star horses who were famously separated by only half-a-length when they made their respective racecourse debuts at Newmarket in August 2010.
While Frankel has proved himself possibly the greatest horse of all-time in winning all 13 races and blasting apart the opposition over a mile before stepping up to repeat the feat over 10 furlongs last time out in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York in August, Nathaniel has also proved himself a star performer, last term winning both the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the same course a month later.
This campaign he bagged the Coral Eclipse Stakes before failing by only a nose to retain his ‘King George’ crown at Ascot when touched off in the last stride by German star filly Danedream, and again ran a stormer when a fine runner-up to Snow Fairy in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last time out.
Bookmakers such as betfair are taking no chance in making Frankel a 1/10 favourite for the Champion Stakes, while Nathaniel can be backed at a top price of 8/1 in the ante-post market. Punters looking beyond that race may want to consider The Betfair Chase Festival, which is due to take place at Haydock next month.