Frankel to make festival a family affair

Markov and jockey Tom Bellamyon their way to victory. Picture: Fontwell Park

Honeyball hat-trick lights up Fontwell

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Family honour is on the line as Frankel bids for back-to-back Sussex Stakes wins this afternoon (3.10pm).

The unbeaten four-year-old colt, who at a rating of 140 is the finest horse in training, will become the first champion to ever defend the crown should he win.

And the omens are good after his full brother, Noble Mission, landed the Gordon Stakes yesterday.

Both colts – who are owned by Prince Khalid Abdulla and trained by Sir Henry Cecil – were sired by Galileo out of dam Kind, who is a daughter of Danehill.

So with one victory for the family already in the bank, it’s time for big brother to step up and follow Noble Mission into the winners’ enclosure on the Downs.

Frankel has scared off all but three of his rivals, with just Farrh, Gabrial and his stable-mate – and pacesetter – Bullet Train set to oppose him in the clash for the finest milers around.

He is expected to go off as short as 1/20 and Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Adbulla, is naturally in confident mood.

Grimthorpe said: ‘It was never destined to be an enormous field, so what can you do?

‘He’s in good shape, everyone seems very happy, so he’s going into the race in good form.

‘Frankel is definitely going to be the horse to beat – there is no doubt about that. But he still has to put his best foot forward.

‘However, on the best form he has shown he is going to be superior to most animals that turn up.

‘We respect (Farhh). He was unlucky at Royal Ascot and ran a super race at Sandown in the Eclipse, so he is a very legitimate horse.’

Grimthorpe reckons Frankel’s victory over Canford Cliffs in last year’s renewal still ranks as one of his finest displays.

And he confirmed a move up to 10 furlongs is next on the agenda – with a clash against French ace Cirrus Des Aigles in the Juddmonte International on the cards.

‘I was really impressed with the way he did it, especially from the front,’ said Grimthorpe.

‘He just kept increasing and increasing and it took him a long time to pull up afterwards. It was one of his best performances.

‘We have been so spoiled with Frankel – I don’t think I have seen anything like him before. We look forward to taking on everybody and we are in such a lucky position with Frankel in how he has matured this year.

‘We would be confident he could get a mile and a quarter, which therefore gives him the opportunity to take on different opponents.’

Today’s card starts at 2pm and also includes the Group 2 Vintage Stakes (2.35pm).