- Royal Ascot
Fantastic Frankel secures Royal victory
The world's best horse Frankel chalked up an 11th straight victory to get Royal Ascot off to a flying start in the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday.
Sir Henry Cecil's colt, the long odds-on favourite, turned the race into a procession as he stormed to yet another triumph that only served to enhance his lofty reputation.
There was no challenger in sight as Frankel comfortably notched a seventh Group One win from just 11 career starts. The race was put to bed well before he crossed the finishing line, with jockey Tom Queally barely forced to make any demands on his ride.
Aided by brother Bullet Train, Frankel settled in just behind the leaders as Ian Mongan acted as pace-setter at the front of the field. Operating in the slipstream, Frankel allowed second-favourite Excelebration early position - clearly knowing there would be more than enough in the tank when the moment arrived.
Queally eased his ride into the lead with three furlongs to run and from that moment onwards the result - if it had been at all - was never in doubt. Excelebration, beaten four times previously by Frankel, finished eleven lengths back with Side Glance third.
"It's relief, I'm not surprised but relieved," Cecil said. "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."
Queally added: "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."
The King's Stand Stakes were won by 12/1 chance Little Bridge, as Frankie Dettori failed to feature aboard Spirit Quartz. Second place went to Bated Breath (11-2), who was edged out by three-quarters of a length with Sole Power (8/1) third.
Most Improved returned odds of 9/1 to claim the St James's Palace Stakes, holding on from Hermival under Kieren Fallon. In a well-contested battle, the Brian Meehan-trained horse showed fine staying power to see off the threat of both Hermival (9-1) and Gregorian (14-1), who finished second and third respectively.
Dawn Approach was the winner of the Coventry Stakes, keeping calm to cross first despite pressure two furlongs out, with favourite Sir Prancealot only managing to finish a disappointing fourth.
Ryan Moore steered Simenon to Ascot Stakes glory ahead of Al Khawaneej, giving trainer Willie Mullins a first victory at the Royal meeting.
And in the Windsor Castle Stakes, Hototo prevailed in a tight finish, with little more than a length between the first seven home.