Royal Ascot: Frankel romps to 11th straight win on opening day

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport, at Royal Ascot

Frankel lived up to his ranking as the world's top-rated racehorse with an awesome performance to claim his 11th successive win when triumphing in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Sent off at 1-10, the shortest priced favourite in living memory at the meeting, he sauntered to a breathtaking 11-length triumph in the opening race.

The unbeaten colt, trained by Sir Henry Cecil, powered away from 10 rivals with 5-1 chance Excelebration second and Side Glance (33-1) in third.

Even by his illustrious standards, it was a brilliant performance and the second biggest margin of victory in Frankel's glittering career.

Stablemate Bullet Train had made the early pace in the one-mile race, but Frankel was close in behind at the halfway stage and travelling strongly.

When regular jockey Tom Queally asked his mount to quicken, he surged to the front and kept going clear of his toiling opponents.

The Ascot crowd looked on in awe as the winner passed the post in glorious isolation.

Asked for his first thoughts on the victory, Cecil 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."

Cecil added that Frankel could now be run over a bigger distance but does not expect him to be at the Breeders' Cup in the US.

"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."

Queally said: "It was basically what everyone expected, so it's great that he did it.

"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. From my point of view he's been flawless in the past but I couldn't have asked for anything more.

"He had the perfect prep for it, Henry had no complications and we were able to do it nicely."

Frankel was winning at the Berkshire track for the fourth time in his career, and the second year in succession at the royal meeting, having taken the St James's Palace Stakes in 2011.

It was the seventh Group One victory of the four-year-old's career and the fifth time he had seen off the challenge of Excelebration.

In the other Group 1 races of the day, Little Bridge (12-1) won the King's Stand Stakes and Most Improved (9-1) showed class to win the St James's Palace Stakes.

Little Bridge jockey, Zac Purton, told BBC Two: "He travelled like a winner the whole way. I always thought it would take a good one to beat him. Danny Shum (the trainer) and I both came here confident in the horse."

Most Improved was also in supreme form on the way to victory, and his jockey Kieren Fallon said: "I had faith in him, I know how good he is and he proved it today. You could never ride a better mover. I think he will keep improving. If he can do that he will be hard to beat."

There were also victories for Dawn Approach, Simenon and Hototo.

However, there was sadness when it emerged The Nile was put down following a heavy fall in the St James's Palace Stakes.


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