Four reasons why Frankel will win Champion by under six lengths
Conservative is the word that springs to mind when speaking about Sir Henry Cecil’s race strategy regarding Frankel.
Few risks have been taken in the choice of race in guiding Frankel to 13 career victories, with the decision made to miss the Epsom Derby last year and the Arc earlier this month the notable examples of Cecil taking the easy options.
Any manner of Ascot victory will content Cecil, to extend the winning streak, secure Frankel his biggest pot for being first past the post and most importantly, ensure no drop in his historic stud value.
And for this reason, the 5/4 that he wins the Champion Stakes by less than six lengths represents better value than the same price for winning by six lengths or more.
Based on current official ratings, Frankel must win by a minimum of six lengths to have any chance of seeing his current level of 140 improved, which is necessary to equal or better the mark given to Dancing Brave in the 1980s.
But Frankel will almost certainly have to be pushed all out to do this, which is unlikely to appeal to conservative Cecil, with the horse returning in one piece of more significant importance.
Therefore, if Frankel hits the front heading into the final two furlongs, it will be no surprise if Tom Queally does little more than push the horse forward, even if this is expected to be Frankel’s last racecourse appearance.
Furthermore, if the rain continues, the ground at Ascot could become heavy by race day.
Main challenger Cirrus Des Aigles prefers softer over faster ground and this surface is likely to make it harder for Frankel to accelerate in his typical fashion.
Even if Frankel runs to his usual mark, this may not be enough to win by six lengths in any case.
In his only previous start over 1m2f, Frankel beat Farhh by seven lengths.
However, Cirrus Des Aigles is rated 8lb higher than Farhh and so Frankel would have to improve to win by the same distance again.
Finally, Frankel’s pacemaker Bullet Train will surely be told to keep the early pace steady in order to preserve as much stamina as possible.
But Nathaniel, Master Of Hounds and Pastorius all tend to run up with the pace and will know the best chance of beating Frankel will be to make it a stamina test.
Therefore, Bullet Train may be taken on for the lead, which will upset Frankel’s usual race pattern.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date