Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

The Punter: Fairweather Frankel facing farewell Ascot examination

Rain could play a part for Frankel at Ascot

Noone wants to rain on Frankel's farewell party on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday. But the weather may yet play a big part on whether or not he bows out unbeaten after 14 races.

Fairweather Frankel facing farewell Ascot examination Heavy going: Rain could play a part for Frankel at Ascot NO-ONE wants to rain on Frankel's farewell party on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday. But the weather may yet play a big part on whether or not he bows out unbeaten after 14 races.

The brilliant Frankel is likely to run on the softest ground he has ever encountered and not only that, he faces tougher opposition over a mile and a quarter, including Nathaniel who was beaten only half a length when the pair first met as two-year-olds.

However, Frankel's biggest threat in the Champion Stakes is last year's winner Cirrus Des Aigles who beat So You Think and Snow Fairy and will relish the conditions more than Frankel, despite trainer Sir Henry Cecil expressing no concerns, saying: “I don't mind if it is slightly on the soft side.

“If it's very heavy, you can be in no man's land. Soft ground won't bother him at all.”

The French horse has won three Group 1 races including his latest romp in the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend. He also pipped Nathaniel in this year's King George VI Stakes, the latter winning the race in 2011 and landing this season's Sandown Eclipse.

For the first time, Frankel takes on top-class opposition in a race further than a mile and if dotting up as he did in the Judmonte International at York against much inferior rivals, he'll deservedly go out on the highest note.

Officially, he has at least 10lbs in hand over his rivals but ratings don't win races. Even the greatest can have an off-day which as punters know, often leads to the so-called 'certainty' being an imposter in waiting.

Bookmakers believe Frankel can't be beaten and that's why he's 1/6, although quoted at 1/10 last week. So is a bit of a doubt creeping in? Maybe.

Frankel should bow out on a winning note but don't expect it to be as convincing as some anticipate. Sir Henry will be more than delighted just to win no matter the margin and 4-5 lengths at 4/1 is worth a shout while Cirrus Des Aigles is the call at 4/5 without the ‘great one.'

Excelebration who has seen the back of Frankel three times, including in last year's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, won't have to worry about him this time and that prize looks destined for the Coolmore horse.

Frankel distance betting: Up to and including 3 and 3/4 lengths 2/1; 4-5 lengths inclusive 4/1; six lengths or more 11/8.

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