Nothing quiet about Frankel
Henry Cecil played down Frankel's work yesterday as “his final quiet piece” before the first Classic of the season on Saturday.
Those who witnessed the young champion's latest detonation, however, would testify that “quiet” was just about the last word to describe the way Frankel once again scalded his lead horse, exploding several lengths clear.
His trainer did admit that he has been delighted with Frankel's progress, since resurfacing at Newbury 11 days ago.
“I'd be very surprised if he's not a better horse now than he was then,” he said. “But we've still four days to go, haven't we?”
The unbeaten colt will go into the Qipco 2,000 Guineas as the hottest favourite since Nijinsky, in 1970. In the meantime, Cecil himself has trained a series of outstanding champions, but there is a sense that he has something precious on his hands here.
“You always worry a little bit about things going wrong,” he said. “I've had so many horses have setbacks in the last week before a big race.
“But unless you have butterflies, it's not worth doing.”
Conversely, it would appear, Frankel himself is becoming more laid-back about his vocation.
His one Achilles heel had seemed to be an inclination to race freely, but Cecil believes him far more settled now.
The colt's owner has Rerouted, trained by Barry Hills, available to guarantee the pace, but Cecil indicated that Tom Queally might easily send Frankel into the lead if dissatisfied with the tempo.
“I'd like a decent, sensible pace,” Cecil said. “If I don't get it, I'm quite happy to do it myself.
“He could [make the running] if he had to, but hopefully he won't have to.
“My team have done a marvellous job. He is precocious, and you could set him alight. When the adrenaline goes, he can be a bit fiery. But hopefully he'll be easier as the year goes on, and he gets more experience.
“He does have this extraordinary stride, and he'll be more relaxed if you let him go and use himself the way he wants to. That's why you wouldn't fight him, if the pace were wrong.”
If suitably encouraged by Frankel's performance on Saturday, Cecil would be tempted to try him over ten furlongs in the Totesport Dante Stakes at York next month, with a possible crack at the Investec Derby in mind.
He is likely to hold fire, then, with plans for World Domination, who is also owned by Khaled Abdulla and impressed on the same Newbury card as Frankel.
“They made him second favourite for the Derby, but he has only won a maiden,” Cecil said.
“He's potentially very nice. The trouble is, if he is a Derby horse, that if they have never run at two, you'd really like to give them three races before Epsom.
“Some horses can do it, like (1993 winner) Commander In Chief. But he was a big, robust horse, and this one is less mature.
“If we can only give him two runs, then I'm wondering if he may learn a bit more by going to Lingfield than he would at York. We'll see.”