Royal Ascot 2012 has been perfectly scripted to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with the best racehorse in the world, the unbeaten Frankel, opening Day One in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) on Tuesday and the best mare in the world, the Australian sprinter, Black Caviar, closing proceedings on the Saturday in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) on Saturday.
Queen Anne first established racing at Ascot in 1711 and the race named in her honour, was first run in 1840. Since then, some of the biggest names in racing have added their names to its honours roll.
Last year the Queen Anne Stakes produced a thrilling finish as Canford Cliffs and Goldikova duelled down the straight, before Canford Cliffs emerged the victor. On Tuesday Frankel, with six Group 1’s behind his name, returned to Ascot for the fourth time to put his ten-race unbeaten record on the line.
Frankel and Queally alone out front, picture Liesl King
The result was never in doubt from a long, long, way out. Jockey Tom Queally cruised up to the leaders with 800m left to go, sat there for a while, casually sizing up the opposition, before cruising into the lead and off into the sunset.
It was as breathtakingly easy as it was spectacular. A once in a lifetime moment, savoured by all who witnessed it.
Afterwards, Tom Queally summed up the extraordinary Frankel in just three words.
“He is amazing.”
When asked if the Galileo colt had anything left in the tank, the usually reserved Queally replied, “If I had pushed him anymore he would have ended up Legoland!” (Some two miles down the road from Ascot.)
Frankel wins in solitary splendour as the crowd looks on, picture Liesl King
The crowd had come to see one horse and one horse alone. As he approached the finish line, a splendid solitary figure, the roar was deafening. With Go Frankel paddles they saluted their champion and Queally obliged, trotting Frankel down the almost endless stretch of spectators, before returning to the winner’s enclosure.
History will record that Timeform lifted Frankel’s merit rating to 147 after his victory, making him the highest rated horse in the 64 years of Timeform’s existence. History will also record that the official margin was 11 lengths, that Frankel ran his fastest sectional ever from the 600m marker to the 400m marker, a spectacular 10.58 seconds.
What history will not record is the brilliance, the audacity, and the extraordinary ease with which Frankel cover the 1600 meters of the Queen Anne Stakes. A performance that raised the hairs on the necks of many a spectator.
Frankel and Tom Queally, picture Liesl King
Today, one of the greatest racehorses of our time enriched the lives and the memories of all who witnessed his extraordinary performance. It was a moment to savour, a moment to store in the memory bank, a moment to be recounted, a moment of “I was there.....”