10/19/2012 4:37PM

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.
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.
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.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
keep in mind sheik khalid abdullah sent his champion turf horse WORKFORCE to the breeders cup turf at churchil and the trainer sir michael stout pleaded with the churchil officials to water the turf course because of the drought that was in place in kentucky that year and they refused.the track was rock hard and he scratched on the day of the race he flew here and back to europe.WORKFORCE was a heavy favorite to win.so you know they will not run a horse on a bad surface,2nd they might be a little miffed at the treatment they got from breeders cup officials in the past.3rd would you risk a horse worth 50 million on a heavy turf chopped up by a few other earlier races on it.i would not.and they wont either.hes already done more than enough and really has nothing to prove.as for the WISE DAN comment come on seriously i love wise dan and if youve read my posts ive been on him since before he ever stepped on turf or synthetic,even posting against some drf commentators who were implying he would not be as efective on turf,but come on hes a very very good horse but he beat wilcox inn in his last race.dont confuse the competion he has been facing to what frankel had to deal with in europe horses like canford hills,nethaniel,cirrus des aiglees,roderic oconnor,st nicholas abbey and others would all beat the fields wise dan has been facing easily.
redboy More than 1 year ago
Somethings up! The entire field has to run under the same circumstances, You want to be considered as one of the best ever! then finish on top against some of the best euros and stake your claim..
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
If i rains over here we cancel 80% of races on turf. If it rains hard we cancel them all. If it pours over there for a week, they run anyway and on a heavy course there tons of reasons to scratch.
andrew More than 1 year ago
Honestly dont think they want to run against Wise Dan
Jeff Moyers More than 1 year ago
Frankel would make Wise Dan look ordinary. he truly is the best turf horse in the world.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Jeff, they just don't get it here, global rankings he is so far ahead of Wise Dan its ridiculous.
Jeff Moyers More than 1 year ago
The Euros are turf racing. If they brought all of the best turf horse from Europe over for the BC, the Americans would not win any purse money.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
You can't be serious andrew, I can hear them laughing from here.
Robert Walton More than 1 year ago
You can't be serious.