10/19/2012 3:37PM

Frankel's connections concerned about wet course conditions for Champion Stakes


More rain fell at already sodden Ascot Racecourse on Friday afternoon, prompting the first statements of concern from the connections of Frankel, the undefeated superstar who is entered to race Saturday in the Champion Stakes.

The Ascot course has been listed as soft for several days, but after the area received a little more than a tenth of an inch of rain Friday, the clerk of the course downgraded the turf condition on the round course, over which the Champion will be contested, from soft all around to soft-to-heavy in spots. Saturday is forecast to be dry, but showers are again possible Friday night.

Faced with the prospect of a heavy course, the Frankel camp said Friday they’d have to evaluate turf conditions on race day before giving Frankel the final go-ahead to start in the Champion. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, said Frankel’s connections “desperately want Frankel to run,” but that Frankel’s participation was contingent upon finding suitable going on Saturday.

“We are going to walk it and the intention is to run if we can,” Grimthorpe said.

It is not just the rain the course will have taken that would concern Frankel’s connections, but the fact that the Champion is the fifth race on Ascot’s card. Three of the four races preceding Frankel’s will have been run on the round course – the fourth, a straight-course sprint, utilizes the same homestretch – and in such wet conditions, the course figures to be chopped up by the time Champion goes.

There was no talk about what sort of backup plan might be put in place should Frankel be scratched from the Champion, the last race of any great significance during the European flat season. Juddmonte has been a regular participant in Breeders’ Cup races, but Frankel’s connections – trainer Henry Cecil in particular – have quickly shot down discussion of a Breeders’ Cup appearance throughout 2012.

PeterG More than 1 year ago
Excelebration was very impressive today in his race. Just exploded when Joseph O'Brien found an opening. If he runs like that in the Breeders Cup, he might blow the doors off of Wise Dan. As Hersh tweeted earlier, Frankel has beaten Excelebration 5 times.
O4theluvofgod More than 1 year ago
Hasn't just beaten Excelebration, He's destroyed him by 4L, 2 1/2L, 4L, 5L and 11L the last time they raced. Excelebration is going for the BC Mile so i gues you'll find out how good Wise Dan is, Also Excelebration beat Cityscape 3L and Wise Dan beat Cityscape 4 1/4L @ Woodbine so it should be a good race.
russell More than 1 year ago
Good for Frankel. He proved me wrong. Even after a bad break he was solid.
Andrew Moraghan More than 1 year ago
Frankel is a confirmed runner and the going is soft (heavy in places). Throughout the week connections have expressed their desire / intention to run. The only people whinging about Frankel potentially ducking the issue because of the ground seem to be in the comments section here.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
daveyp62 More than 1 year ago
frankel will put them to sword. no doubt about it. different league to anything that has ever raced.
russell More than 1 year ago
was he scratched. If not bet against him. The fact that the connections are giving an angle not to run bet against him is a heads up. Im sure we will hear an answer very soon if hes withdrawn.
russell More than 1 year ago
Can you imagine if they scratch him. If that happens people will go insane. Will they race again if he is scratched? And unfortunately i never saw Big Red cause I was only 4 years old then. But I did see Forego, Affirmed, Alydar, Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid. What a Golden Age it was in the late 70's. I was at Belmont for Alydar and Affirmed sitting atop my dads shoulders because the place was jammed. Best horse race I ever saw. Seattle Slew vs Exceller is a very close 2nd.
Jack More than 1 year ago
Hope Frankel runs,he is fun to watch.Interestingly,they had a panel discussion in England with a couple for former jockeys and some other dude and they were asked if they considered Frankel the best of all time.Nobody did.The ex jock Waletr Swinburn took Secretariat ( i have to agree with him) as the greatest,the other jock said Ribot and the analyst said Sea Bird.
Ben van den Brink More than 1 year ago
You seem to overrate, your US bulls ring races increditly. Risking an horse worth far more than 50 millions, seems a little bit overasked. to me however very dissappointed when this would happen. Just forgetting that the lasix runners will have an advantage from an full second in any given race race. As it is an powerful diurectic.
Robert Faraci More than 1 year ago
Will he ever run in a worthwhile race? No Arc, no King George 2nd, no BC! A fine champion
Robert Walton More than 1 year ago
If Frankel ran in the Breeders' Cup, it would be the biggest horse racing day since Seabiscuit beat War Admiral. It would give the sport the boost it so badly needs. Not to be, however.