Why Frankel will rule the world


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  • #25533

    Jonibake
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    With all the little Frankel’s popping out around the world it has got me thinking “how good a sire will he be?”

    So I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all. Apologies to the jumps fans.

    As most TRF members know I was just a bit of a Frankel Freak and I must confess, whilst not wanting to wish my life away, I can hardly wait to see his first runners hit the track in 2016. I had the joy of watching Frankel run 9 times and when he retired and dear Henry passed there was a big hole. I am hoping the progeny of the best horse I ever saw will help fill that hole and that in some ways the spirit of Henry will live on through them.

    So he was a great racehorse but will he be any good as a sire? Well sadly it is virtually impossible that Frankel will be able to produce a horse as good as he was. Tony Morris, the bloodstock expert in the Racing Post writes of what he calls “regression to the mean” which is based around the fact that no horse with a rating of above 138 has ever sired a horse rated 138 or above. Indeed there have been plenty of brilliant racehorses down the years who have proved to be flops at stud. Generous earned a rating of 139 as a racehorse but was an unsuccessful stallion. Reference Point reached the same rating but achieved little in his four years at stud. Even the great Brigadier Gerard with a similar profile to Frankel was a relative failure. So there are no guarantees.

    Also you have to take a little family trait into account. Frankel’s mother Kind was bred to be most effective over further than the 5 or 6 furlongs over which she actually raced but Roger Charlton was never able to temper her enthusiasm and keen running style. It was the only perceived chink in Frankel’s armour as well and was much in evidence in some of his early races notably the Dewhurst. Those involved at Warren Place will tell you that it was only the genius of Cecil and the tender handling of Shane Featherstonehaugh that enabled Frankel to show his true potential. His siblings have shown similar tendencies. Noble Mission is a very naughty boy. Bullet Train only really showed his potential when he became a pacemaker and was another who liked to throw his toys out of the pram. Even Joyeuse wears the cross piece (is it called that?) and has the propensity to be keen. So it definitely runs in the family. It is likely that this will be passed down the line and that some of his progeny might not be the easiest to train.

    However there are plenty of reasons to be positive as well.

    If we take the “regression to the norm” argument first, well he doesn’t actually HAVE to produce a horse as good as himself to be a successful stallion. In fact a final RPR rating of 143 means he only has to be able to produce racehorses within 13lbs of himself to be 130 rated and therefore capable of winning all the major races. A glance down the list of recent stallions shows that many of them are comfortably capable of doing this once or twice a year.

    The huge advantage Frankel has is the huge advantage Frankel had. He wasn’t just a little bit better than everything else, he was in a different league. I said many times during his career that I thought he was 100 years ahead of his time in terms of his physiological make-up. It was almost unfair on the others. Dr Jeremy Naylor, a veterinary qualified physiological expert wrote words to the same effect in The Telegraph “What’s different about this horse is that he’s demolished his other high-class rivals. I think he’s genuinely superlative. It comes down to the three key areas: 1) The horse has to be physiologically well above average – the muscles and ratios of fibre types, the cardiovascular system, the lungs. It has to have a well-developed engine; 2) How they move. Locomotion. The arrangement of limbs and its back will determine how it moves; 3) A huge factor is the psychology of the horse.
    “We’ve been selecting horses for the last three centuries for their athletic ability but also their attitude to running. Most thoroughbred horses want to run but there aren’t many who will push themselves consistently the way this horse has. He will not only tolerate high-intensity exercise but he revels in it. To do that time after time is where he’s really outstanding.”

    So it would appear Frankel had a huge physical advantage over his rivals. If he can pass that on even just to one or two a year his offspring will rule the racing world for the next 20 years.

    Another obvious advantage he holds is the fact that he has been mated with only the best mares. They are like a who’s who of the best race and brood mares of the last 10 years. This has to help.

    But what excites me most about Frankel as a sire is the range that his offspring could be capable of.

    Firstly there is range in trip. It is not unreasonable to think that Frankel could well sire Group 1 winners from 5f right up to 1m4f. He himself was a 140+ horse at both 8 and 10 furlongs. We never got the actual proof but his pure speed, witnessed so dramatically in the 2,000 Guineas, would surely have made him a major player over 6f as well. Mate him with a top class sprinter and you could have a very fast animal. Similarly the way he slogged it out over Ascot’s stiff 1m 2f on heavy ground in the Champion suggests he might have stayed the extra 2 furlongs on better ground. In neither case do I think he would have been as effective but he wouldn’t have needed to be to still be comfortably good enough. So there is range in distance.

    There is also range in age. He was a brilliant 2 year old and then just got better. We could see early precocious little Frankel’s winning over 5 and 6 furlongs. We could see older Frankel’s winning as they improve with age.

    Finally there is conditions. I doubt we’ll be saying “ah Frankel’s can only really go on quick ground.” Or “oh she’s a Frankel, she’ll need a bit of cut.” That beautiful action meant he could go on anything. What if he is able to pass that on?

    My last point is a counter against that naughty keen-going streak. Yes it was a factor but what wasn’t mentioned so often was how genuine he was. Not only was he the best but he tried harder than most. They say he never did a piece of work that was even average. He ALWAYS performed. This was what I loved about him. I used to make the most ludicrously outrageous predictions on my thread but I knew Frankel would never make me look stupid. Some of you might remember what I wrote before the Queen Anne. He even beat my 10 length prediction! I’m not trying to say I was clever, just that I had total faith in the horse. He always put his head down and ran his heart out. You saw it in the St James Palace where only his guts got him through and you saw it in the Champion when he was so nearly at the end of his tether. What if he passes that on?

    So all in all you can probably guess how excited I am. I know there are no guarantees and it is definitely a bit of wishful thinking on my part but you could always rely on Frankel when he ran and I have a feeling you can rely on him to be a champ at stud too. I simply can’t imagine him being average at anything!

    "this perfect mix of poetry and destruction, this glory of rhythm, power and majesty: the undisputed champion of the world!!!"

    #467211
    aji
    aji
    Member
    • Total Posts 489

    Nice post …

    Add to that his breeding – by a champion sire himself by THE champion sire

    #467223
    Triptych
    Triptych
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5170

    Joni what a fantastic post to which not much can be added, you truly love this horse and he is not going to disappoint you or any of his fans.

    You have to go back a long long way into horseracing history to find a horse with the charisma and talent of Frankel and there is one of course and that is ECLIPSE of whom it is famously said

    ‘Eclipse first the rest nowhere’

    .
    I saw his skeleton on display at the National Horseracing Museum Newmarket and it was said that he truly had the X Factor with his heart weighing in at 14lbs matched only with horses such as Phar Lap and Secretariat all legends in their own right.
    I found it interesting however that Eclipse didn’t even start his racing career until he was 5 years old, so there can never really be any comparison with Frankel who had ended his career at that age and performing stud duties.

    Would be great to use this post to keep updates of the Frankel progeny as it appears, although I expect the media will lose interest after reporting the first dozen or so and more research will be needed.

    Here is a start:

    CHRYSANTHEMUM

    (Danehill Dancer)
    (Duel Group Winner)
    Saturday January 11th
    Coolmore Stud – Ireland
    Bay Colt – born 8.30pm
    Frankel’s firstborn

    Sir Henry must have been looking down the night Frankel’s firstborn came into the world and Chrysanthemum paid him the greatest compliment he could wish for by delivering him on Sir Henrys birthday, this one has to be special..I’d name him Henry’s Legacy. :D

    SONG

    (Sadler’s Wells)
    (unraced full sister to Group 1 winners Yesterday and Quarter Moon)
    Sunday January 19th
    The National Stud – Newmarket
    Bay Filly – born 5.30am

    MIDDAY

    (Oasis Dream)
    (6 times Group 1 Winner)
    Saturday 1st February
    Banstead Manor Stud
    Bay Filly – born 1.15pm

    To keep up with news about Frankel and his forthcoming progeny you can register with Juddmonte and they will send you updates.
    Here is the link:-
    http://frankel.juddmonte.com/news/default.aspx

    It’s going to be an exciting time when these babies get their hooves on a racetrack Joni..can’t wait oh and PS..Roll on the Flat :wink:

    Things turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out...
    #467239

    Jonibake
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3259

    Thanks AJi and Jaq. Great idea about using this thread to update members on his progeny. I’ll keep my eye out!

    "this perfect mix of poetry and destruction, this glory of rhythm, power and majesty: the undisputed champion of the world!!!"

    #467246

    Anonymous
    • Total Posts 781

    When do these little’ns get named? Are they sent to auction or kept by the mare’s owners?

    Great thread btw!

    #467248
    Ghost of Rob V
    Ghost of Rob V
    Participant
    • Total Posts 687

    Apologies to the jumps fans.

    They don’t have my apologies. I’ve read far too many threads with NH fans slagging off the Flat.

    My last point is a counter against that naughty keen-going streak. Yes it was a factor but what wasn’t mentioned so often was how genuine he was. Not only was he the best but he tried harder than most. They say he never did a piece of work that was even average. He ALWAYS performed. This was what I loved about him. I used to make the most ludicrously outrageous predictions on my thread but I knew Frankel would never make me look stupid. Some of you might remember what I wrote before the Queen Anne. He even beat my 10 length prediction! I’m not trying to say I was clever, just that I had total faith in the horse. He always put his head down and ran his heart out. You saw it in the St James Palace where only his guts got him through and you saw it in the Champion when he was so nearly at the end of his tether. What if he passes that on?

    Every Frankel fan will know how genuine the horse was … apart from the few jealous people (mainly overseas) who couldn’t accept what a phenomenon he was just because he didn’t contest in top races outside of the UK, didn’t break any track records and labelled ‘the greatest ever’ by many.

    As you mentioned, he always performed and put his head down. However, I didn’t for one second feel that he ran his heart out because there was no horse around to test him … his winning margins further reinforce that. I’m convinced that in the St James Palace, he’d have found a second wind should Zoffany had drawn level with him and looked far from the end of his tether in the Champion Stakes. On the contrary, I don’t think we ever seen the best of him. There’s a niggling feeling that there was still some part of his gift that remained locked when he retired.

    I’m very hopeful that he’ll be a fine success at stud. My ultimate wish is that there’ll be a son/daughter that will do to Frankel what Frankel did to Galileo in terms of ability passed down onto the racetrack and if that happens…

    #467253

    Jonibake
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3259

    Always good to read your thoughts Rob and you may well be right about both those races.

    Frankel may well have responded had Zoffany got upsides and it was interesting that he didn’t pass him after the winning line. I’ll never forget the footage of poor old Henry looking at the horse, then the post, then the horse, then the post looking more and more frantic. It was a close call – let’s put it that way.

    I thought he was tiring at the end of the Champion though it was hardly surprising giving he missed the break and was racing on that sticky ground. Did we ever get to the bottom of him? I agree with you – I doubt it. But I’m rather glad they didn’t bottom him out. Always leave them wanting more Rob.

    "this perfect mix of poetry and destruction, this glory of rhythm, power and majesty: the undisputed champion of the world!!!"

    #467269

    Diminuendo
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1

    Tony Morris, the bloodstock expert in the Racing Post writes of what he calls “regression to the mean” which is based around the fact that no horse with a rating of above 138 has ever sired a horse rated 138 or above.

    Mill Reef (141) sired Reference Point (139) ? Assuming you mean Timeform ratings.

    #467286

    Jonibake
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3259
    Tony Morris, the bloodstock expert in the Racing Post writes of what he calls “regression to the mean” which is based around the fact that no horse with a rating of above 138 has ever sired a horse rated 138 or above.

    Mill Reef (141) sired Reference Point (139) ? Assuming you mean Timeform ratings.

    His full quote is this

    "No horse rated 138 has ever sired a horse rated 138 or above. Frankel may well get plenty of good runners, and I hope he does, but I can guarantee he will never sire his equal; he is the ceiling, and regression to the mean dictates that all his stock will be inferior to him.”

    So I take it that he means no horse rated 138 or above has ever sired a horse equal or better to him. In other words Frankel might be capable of siring a 138 but he is not capable of siring a 143 or above. I THINK that’s what he means!

    "this perfect mix of poetry and destruction, this glory of rhythm, power and majesty: the undisputed champion of the world!!!"

    #467357

    andyod
    Member
    • Total Posts 4347

    The only missing piece in the future of Frankel’s get is they will not have Henry to make sure everything goes right."A bad trainer will never train a good horse".

    #467372
    cormack15
    cormack15
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 9891

    Dancing Brave is another great champion on the racecourse who could hardly have been considered a success at stud.

    #467377
    The Ante-Post King
    The Ante-Post King
    Participant
    • Total Posts 8773

    Dancing Brave is another great champion on the racecourse who could hardly have been considered a success at stud.

    Agreed,for a horse with everything he was a dissapointment but he still sired a Derby winner,Will

    Frankel

    ? I remember looking for a Chestnut Colt who would emulate his sire

    New Approach

    and it never bothered me who the Dam was just as long as he looked like his Dad.I hope ‘Frankel’ can throw at least one colt who has the almost unique build of his Dad and I’ll be on for the 2000gns………Redemption time Joni.

    #467403

    insomniac
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1551

    A very readable post Jonibake. I too look forward to seeing how Frankel’s offspring perform.
    The "reversion to mean" effect is something I’ve read quite a bit about over the years, (nearly all with regards to human educational aspirations and IQ) I’m not an expert though. It’s a fascinating topic.
    Perhaps, although it seems counter-intuitive, Frankel might be better served in his quest to sire "great" racehorses by covering mares that weren’t themselves of the highest order on the racetrack (or possess more plebeian pedigrees). That he will probably cover few if any "run-of-the-mill" mares might be a disadvantage.
    As far as Frankel’s physiology is concerned, whilst not doubting his excellence in this aspect, I think it’s too easy to say he was exceptional in this respect. I’m sure I’ve seen many a good-looking selling-plater over the years. That Eclipse had oustanding features is hardly surprising either. What would be surprising is if a truly great horse was a scrawny rag-bag with a skeletal frame and internal organs like some underfed chicken on an outdoor butcher’s slab in Albania. It stands to reason that a top-flight athlete, equine or human, will have a body to match. When was the last Men’s Wimbledon champ who looked like an 8 stone weakling? (I’d guess there are plenty of cr@p tennis players with the body of an adonis too!) Frankel’s physique therefore I’d suggest was not exceptional or freakish amongst top-class racehorses.

    A few thoughts on others that were great horses but comparatively disappointing sires.
    Brigadier Gerard: Performed way above his pedigree on the track but disappointed at stud. His stud career was not helped by his owners refusing to register him in a stallion breeders’ scheme which would have put off some from sending their mares to him. Was his naff pedigree why he disappointed? Maybe. Was it the "reversion to mean" rule? Possibly.
    Sea Bird. Did sire one "great" – Allez France.
    Maybe one true great is all we should reasonably expect from Frankel too. But on the plus side , Frankel’s sire, and paternal grandsire and great grandsire are/were truly great stallions and that gives hope that Frankel will be one too .
    It’s an intersesting likelihood that a similarly bred but slow racehorse with a good physique might do just as well at stud as Frankel if he were to cover the same mares. The Aga Khans acheived excellent results with sires many others had written off.

    #467404

    andyod
    Member
    • Total Posts 4347

    If it only were so easy we would all be backing future winners of the Guineas.

    #467525

    Jonibake
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3259

    Good post Insomniac and I was very interested to read about BG’s connections.

    The point I was making about Frankel’s physiology was actually little to do with his physique. Whilst obviously he was incredibly muscular and powerful he wasn’t overly big or tall. The uninitiated (like me) wouldn’t necessarily have been able to pick him out in the paddock as being exceptional. It was what he was able to DO with that physique that WAS exceptional. Two things really stand out.

    First, the stride. He covered more ground than his rivals. Watch the Guineas when he is in close up and it looks like he is flying. It was also a FAST, long stride not a slow, lolloping one.

    Second was that ability to maintain a sprint for that much longer than any horse that we have seen. As my vet friend pointed out in my original post his it was his cardiovascular system, his lungs that enabled him to go so hard so long. Horses like Excelebration could often stay with him for a furlong but would be left for dust as Frankel maintained his gallop.

    So in other words it wasn’t anything necessarily visual about a stationary Frankel more what he could do in motion. THIS is what I hope gets passed down and will give his progeny that advantage.

    "this perfect mix of poetry and destruction, this glory of rhythm, power and majesty: the undisputed champion of the world!!!"

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