Frankel remained unbeaten and justified long odds on in the St James Palace Stakes but only just held on from the fast finishing Zoffany by 3/4 of a length in a dramatic renewal of the mile contest at Ascot this afternoon.
Sent off at 30/100 the Qpico 2000 Guineas winner was expected to blow away his rivals this afternoon but after a dramatic mid race move from jockey Tom Queally Frankel slowly noticably inside the final two furlongs and was looking for the line at the end.
The son of Galileo followed his pacemaker the Barry Hills-trained Rerouted for the opening few furlongs of the contest while his main rivals content to sit behind Frankel. Halfway down the back straight Queally and Frankel kicked into overdrive and shot clear of the field and the race looked all but over.
Inside the final two furlongs Frankel began to tire and Zoffany broke from the pack and looked set to cause a major upset but the line came just in time for Frankel who took his unbeaten record to seven out of seven.
His trainer Sir Henry Cecil was a relived man after the race saying “He settled really well – very, very well. The pacemaker went off quite fast and he was very, very settled and he [Tom Queally] had to ask him to take it up and he said when he was in front he thought he’d done enough.
“Tom said he was very settled and we can ride him properly now. The plan was to go before the bend like the Royal Lodge. In the Royal Lodge the further he went the better he was, but he’s getting older and wiser now and he thought he’d done enough and was getting a bit bored.”
While his jockey Tom Queally said “”He jumped a little bit slow and he settled better than before. He was on his own for a long way and he was getting a bit fed up in front [by the end]. He’s done it so easy. He’s growing up all the time. People think he just jumps and runs but he’s more versatile than that.”
Aidan O’Brien, trainer of the runner up was delighted with his colts performance “We are delighted, absolutely,” he said.
“This is his first start over a mile and he has a lot of natural speed. We’re delighted and he was a long way back and ran on really well. We’ll absolutely look at something like the Sussex Stakes.”