Frankel Makes His 2011 Debut
The Group 3 Greenham Stakes took place at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday, 16 April 2011, and had a contender field of six talented horses. One the contenders, Frankel, was making his 2011 debut. The difference between his looks and performance from last year as a two-year-old and this weekend was truly remarkable. Ending his season last year as a top ranked two-year-old was a great achievement, and it seems that Frankel is well on his way to leaving his mark on the 2011 season as well.
Newbury horse racing fans waited patiently as the six horse field for the Greenham Stakes entered the starting gates and waited for the race to begin. In starting gate order was Excelebration (A Kirby), Frankel (TP Queally), Picture Editor (I Mongan), Shropshire (M Hills), Strong Suit (R Hughes) and Vanguard Dream (RL Moore). Picture Editor, the stable mate of Frankel, with both horses being trained by Henry Cecil, was entered as the pace maker for the race, but after two furlongs, Picture Editor tired, leaving the race to Frankel. Excelebration did try to lurch forward and challenge Frankel for the lead, but had to settle for second place finish, two lengths behind Frankel; with Shrophire crossing the finish line in third position.
Cecil commented on Frankel's performance after the race, saying: "He did everything we asked. The further he went the better he went. It’s been so firm I couldn’t risk him on the grass at home. The all-weather was being resurfaced and while it has been good for conditioning work it hasn’t been ideal for fast work. Considering this he did well. Of course I was a bit nervous beforehand, but if you didn’t get nervous you might as well pack in."
Tom Queally, jockey for Frankel, warned Cecil that his mount is at an approximately eighty percent fitness level, and it is hoped that by the time the Guineas is on the calendar that Frankel will be at a hundred percent. Queally reminded fans that with the first race of the season horses are usually a little rusty, and that even though Frankel has been compared to a machine, it is vital to remember that he is an animal and needs to ease himself back into the new season, which he did exceptionally well.