There is absolutely no doubt that Ascot Racecourse would have enjoyed hosting a sellout crowd on Champions Day last Saturday. However, there is plenty of doubt about whether all 32, 000 tickets would have been sold more than two weeks in advance had the greatest racehorse in the world, Frankel, not been the star attraction.
It is extremely unusual for the flat racing fans in the UK to take to a runner with such warmth. It is commonplace in the National Hunt code of the sport, as the horses are around for many seasons but the careers of top class flat runners is usually very short—usually three seasons maximum.
However, such has been the dynamic performances by Frankel that he captured the imagination of more than just racing fans, but that of the wider public and the success during his three-year racing career is going to be missed next season by fans, media and the sport's authorities alike.
Despite the soft-to-heavy conditions and the dark sky overhead, Frankel did show up for his 14th and final race. Not only did he show up, he once again stole the show, winning Britain’s richest race, the Group 1 Champions Stakes, by over 10 furlongs in fantastic style, thus claiming the title of the Middle Distance Champion of Great Britain.
The win was his 10th at Group 1 level and earned his connections over £735,000, which brought his career earnings up to £2.99 million.
In his 14 races, Frankel accumulated a winning distance of 76.25 lengths, giving him an average margin of 5.4 lengths between him and the next horse home.
His brilliance, however, was punters' loss, as he was effectively "unbackable" in just about every race he ran in. With the exception of his debut, he went off in each of his races as a huge odds-on favorite, meaning that only the high rollers were able to take on the bookmakers at odds which averaged 1/6 (-600) each time the son of Galileo ran. Anybody who had wagered £/$1 on each of his 14 races would have made a profit of just £/$5.96.
Profit, however, will continue to be the name of the game for Frankel's owner, Khalid bin Abdullah, as he will now be retired to one of his owner’s Juddmonte Stud farms where he will command a fee in the region of £100,000 per cover.
There is no doubt that arguments will rage over the next few months as to whether or not he was the greatest racehorse that ever lived and he will have a great many supporters in his corner that believe he is.
Currently, he has a top rating of 147, with Timeform putting him one point clear of Sea Bird and three points clear of Brigadier Gerard and Tudor Minstrel. He is also rated as the best horse in the world right now with a rating of 140, a full 10 lbs clear of Cirrus Des Aigle, who finished second to him in the Champion Stakes on 130.
In the meantime, racing fans will have to wait for the next equine superstar to come along.