Cecil: Sussex defence is up to Frankel

Megan Nicholls (left of picture) was the Silk Series trophy winner last year / Picture by Dan Abraham-racingfotos.com

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Sir Henry Cecil will leave the defence of the Sussex Stakes up to wonderhorse Frankel.

The four-year-old Galileo colt ran out a stunning winner of the Queen Anne Stakes as Royal Ascot got under way yesterday.

Cecil spoke of his relief after the world’s highest-rated racehorse cruised effortlessly clear of closest rival Excelebration to land his 11th-straight victory.

The Sussex Stakes – Glorious Goodwood’s blue riband race – is now firmly in the unbeaten talent’s sights.

In last year’s renewal, Frankel blew the field apart under jockey Tom Queally.

The 138-rated superstar currently heads the 37 entries for the Group 1 contest on August 1.

But Cecil has insisted the final decision on the next target will be down to Frankel himself.

The Newmarket trainer said: ‘It’s relief. I’m not surprised but relieved.

‘There’s no such thing as a certainty.

‘He is a great horse and you’ve seen him for yourself so everybody can form their own opinion.

‘He did exactly what I thought but he’s still improving, Tom said he’s still improving.

‘He looks as if he’ll stay a mile and a quarter so we’ll leave our options open.

‘He’s in the Eclipse, he’s in the Sussex, he’s in the Juddmonte and the two races at the end of the year.

‘He’ll tell me what to do next, I don’t tell him.

‘It’s very unlikely he’ll go to the Breeders’ Cup, though.’

Frankel was sent off the 1/10 favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes yesterday.

He settled behind his pacemaker Bullet Train before sweeping into the lead three furlongs out.

Excelebration did his best to stay in touch but he had no answer when Queally pressed the accelerator.

In the end the Aidan O’Brien-trained four-year-old was second best to Frankel for the fifth time in his career.

Side Glance was a neck behind in third spot.

Queally said: ‘It looks like he’s improving.

‘He settled, he travelled, he got everything else off the bridle when I was still sitting there. He’s amazing.

‘That’s his best performance – he ticked all the boxes, he did everything right.’

Richard Hannon’s Strong Suit, who is also entered in the Sussex Stakes, failed to make an impression on the leaders and weakened to 10th.

Hannon may decide to re-route the American-bred son of Rahy now and avoid a second showdown with the seemingly untouchable Frankel.

At Royal Ascot this afternoon, King Torus – who won the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood back in 2010 – was set to bid for glory in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Meanwhile, West Sussex handler Gary Moore was expected to hand a debut to Delphica in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes.