Friday, 24 August 2018

Frankel

Frankel is described by a lot of horse racing enthusiasts as the greatest thoroughbred racehorse of all time. The bay colt was foaled in February 2008 and was then trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil. He won all 14 of his racecourse starts from August 2010 through to October 2012, after which he retired to begin his career in breeding as a stallion.

In 2011, the son of Galileo was the highest rated racecourse in the world. He held that position in 2012 in his final season. When he retired he had earned just short of £3 million in prize money. The World Thoroughbred Racehorse Ratings gave him a rating of 140, the highest since they introduced their system in 1977.

Just like his career on the track, Frankel has made a strong start to breeding as a number of his offspring have been successful in some of the leading flat races in Europe over the last few years. One of those horses is Cracksman who won the Qipco Champion Stakes on British Champions Day last year. He can be backed at horse racing odds 5/1 to prevail the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in his first attempt in October, a race which sadly was just outside of Frankel’s ideal distance.


 
Credit: Champions Series via Twitter

The public saw Frankel on a racecourse for the first in a maiden at Newmarket where he lined up in a field of 12 over one mile. Cecil’s runner got off to a winning start as he scored by half-a-length, beating Nathaniel who went on to be a Group One winning horse himself.

Frankel’s first Group One success came in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. He justified going off as the odds-on favourite to crown himself the champion two-year-old for the season. That was his fourth straight victory in his opening campaign on the track.

A lot was expected of Frankel as a three-year-old and when he returned at Newbury for the Greenham Stakes, he looked even bigger. He proved that he had lost none of his speed following his winter break as he scored by four lengths on his return to the track.


Credit: Racing Post via Twitter

It there was one race that sums up how dominant Frankel was as a miler, though, it was the 2000 Guineas in 2011 where he produced arguably the most dominant performance ever seen in a British Classic. Under the hands of his pilot Tom Queally, the pair hit the front very early into the race and soon went clear of their rivals. Instead of slowing down in the latter stages of the 1m contest, he went further and further from them to blow the field away.

Frankel stepped up in distance from 1m to 1m2f in his penultimate start of his career for the Juddmonte International at York in 2012. The extra two furlongs did nothing to slow him down as he won by seven lengths to prove he was durable in trip.

Racing fans saw Frankel for the last time on the track in the 2012 Champion Stakes where he maintained his unbeaten record. There were some concerns on the day for the horse as the ground was Soft, Heavy in places. The conditions did not spoil his farewell party though as he beat a field which included the French superstar Cirrus des Aigles.

Horse racing fans are still waiting for the next superstar to fill Frankel’s shoes, however, he was a once in a lifetime horse, therefore it remains to be seen if we see anything like him again.


 

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Kieran Fallon

Kieran Fallon
Born on the 22nd February, 1965, Kieran Fallon is a retired Irish flat racing jockey, who clocked up an impressive 2,253 career wins in his time in the saddle. Now in his fifties, Fallon hails from County Clare and boasts five 2,000 Guineas Stakes wins, four 1,000 Guineas Stakes wins, three Epsom Derbies, three Epsom Oaks and a victory in the Arlington Million.

In addition to these impressive wins, Kieran Fallon would also become British Champion Jockey a remarkable six times and the early part of his success could be attributed to his association with leading trainer, Henry Cecil. Whilst in the Cecil’s stable, Fallon would enjoy a successful time, but the pairing would come to an abrupt end in 1999, when he was dismissed for undisclosed reasons. The jockey is known to be a fiery character, which could have easily led to a disagreement or two and a subsequent parting of ways.

Rocky Period

After the turn of the century, things became a little ‘chequered’, with a mixture of winners, injury and controversy. Now in the Michael Stoute stable, he won the 2,000 Guineas shortly before sustaining an serious arm injury at Ascot which would ultimately lead to Fallon losing the jockey’s championship that year.

Controversy then struck in 2004 when Kieran Fallon was accused of race fixing in a 2 year long trial, but was subsequently exonerated for lack of evidence. After having been banned from racing in the UK for the period of the inquest, Fallon returned to racing immediately after being acquitted.

Continued Controversy

It seemed that trouble was never far away for Fallon, as the jockey was banned from racing again for six months for failing a drugs test in 2006, then failing another in 2007. In total, he missed almost two years of racing through suspension before returning to the saddle in 2009 as a freelance rider.

With his most successful years behind him, Fallon retired from racing in 2016, citing depression as the primary reason. Four or five years of relative underachievement by his own high standards saw the jockey lose his appetite for the challenge.

During his career, Kieran Fallon was always a colourful character and it was ironically the characteristics that made his successful that ultimately led to his fall from grace. However, race fans will always have a soft spot for the mercurial talents of the jockey.