The Dewhurst Stakes, run over seven furlongs at the Rowley Mile, is notoriously known as a good indicator for the Guineas. It is at the backend of the flat season before the two-year-olds go for their winter breaks and come back 6 months later for a three-year-old campaign.
The 30th April 2011 was Guineas day, and I was beaming with excitement to see Frankel run. He had gone unbeaten as a two-year-old, winning four races, including the Royal Lodge and the Dewhurst. Frankel had started the 2011 season with a prep run in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury where he couldn’t have been more impressive, winning very easily under Tom Queally. He was a huge “talking horse” for the first Classic of the season and the vibe going into the Guineas was that this horse was certainly something special.
As we all know, the performance he put up that day was something extraordinary and a great credit to the training performance of the legend himself, Sir Henry Cecil. It was quite possibly the most exciting thing I have ever watched on a racecourse. The story behind it, the build-up and the incredible race itself whereby Frankel tore the field apart from the get-go. I have never seen a horse go that fast from the start in a Group 1 and still manage to win as easily as he did.
What I remember vividly was Ian Bartlett’s commentary where his exclamation “and Frankel at the bushes is 15 lengths clear” was the perfect explanation of what a demolition job the race was turning into. Frankel quite rightly received a champions reception to the winners’ enclosure, with many that witnessed the race stunned at what they had just seen.
Obviously, this was just the start of a wonderful career where he went unbeaten in 14 starts. However, to me, what made his Guineas win so special was that he was the most emphatic winner of the race in my lifetime. He had also cemented his place in history as a champion.
As they say, the rest is history and it is brilliant to see his stud career at Banstead Manor going from strength to strength. He has already sired the likes of Cracksman, Elarqam and Without Parole, as well as 1000 Guineas favourite for 2020, Quadrilateral, who won the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile as a two-year-old.
When a champion comes along in horse racing, the public cherishes it. After all, this is what the racing industry is all about, finding the next world-beater. There is a certain unbeaten colt named Pinatubo who was rated 128 after his juvenile season.
He is the highest-rated juvenile since Celtic Swing (130) in 1994 and rated higher than Frankel at the same stage (who finished his two-year-old season on a rating of 126). Frankel went on to be rated 140. There is no doubt Pinatubo is a champion, but the question is, what can he go on to do this year?