Frankie Dettori says Frankel is unbeatable
Qipco British Champions Day
- Saturday 15 October
- Live on BBC2 1335-1415, BBC1 1415-1630 and BBC Sport website; commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live
Frankie Dettori calls him unbeatable, while his stable lad says he is clever but childish.
They are talking about Frankel, the equine speed freak who will look to crown his season with victory at Ascot on Saturday at the inaugural British Champions Day, the richest raceday in the country's history with £3m in prize money.
The unbeaten three-year-old colt is favourite to claim his ninth career win for trainer Sir Henry Cecil and jockey Tom Queally in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, one of five championship contests.
Frankel arrived at Cecil's Newmarket yard in December 2009, shortly after the death of legendary American trainer Bobby Frankel - the man after whom he is named.
He has gone on to dominate his rivals, and this season has claimed Group One wins in the 2,000 Guineas and at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood.
Stable lad Sandeep Gauravaram has looked after Frankel since he came to Cecil and the 10-time champion trainer asked Gauravaram which of six yearlings he wanted to pick.
"He's a nice big strong horse and I thought 'I'll take him' - he stood out from all the others," says the 30-year-old, nicknamed Sandy.
"From day one, I thought there was something great to look forward to, something special. He definitely makes me proud - more than proud.
"He has such a beautiful, long stride and makes it all look so easy."
Frankel also has a personality all his own and is a hot-blooded male.
"He gets warm very easily and pulls his rug off quite a lot, which is quite unusual," says Gauravaram, who quit as a jockey in India because of injuries and came to England five years ago.
"He's a very clever horse who knows what he wants. If he is hungry, he will drag you over to the feed box.
"I think he knows how good he is and likes to be the centre of attention. He loves having people around.
"He's like a little kid who wants to know about everything. He's very inquisitive - quite nosey actually. He keeps an eye on everything that goes on."
Gauravaram believes the horse recognises him - a claim Dettori cannot make.
"I've never seen his face. I've only seen his backside," jokes the three-time champion jockey, who has been behind Frankel in four races, beaten by a total of more than 60 lengths.
"We've not had a horse like this for years. He just tears up and destroys them. In a way he is quite similar to Dubai Millennium [Dettori's favourite ever mount]. They don't come round very often."
Dettori, famous for his Magnificent Seven wins at Ascot in 1996, rides Poet's Voice against Frankel over a mile on Saturday - but can he see the favourite being beaten?
"No. I don't think we'll ever see him getting beaten. Next year he will probably go to a mile-and-a-quarter but I think he's unbeatable over a mile," says the Italian.
"He's so exciting to watch. I like his attitude - you can see in the way he gallops and in his eyes that he loves to run."
Despite controversy over new whip rules dominating headlines before the meeting, for two men in contrasting positions, Saturday means a lot.
"I can't wait. Ascot is my favourite track, and five championship races - it doesn't get better than that. It's like a dream come true - they should have done this years ago," says Dettori.
As for Gauravaram, he says: "Hopefully Frankel will keep his record going. I'll get very excited. It feels great to be anywhere around the horse. It's the opportunity of a lifetime."