Tag Archives: stakes

Frankel reads his Christmas cards from well wishers

Unbeaten Frankel enjoying his first Christmas in retirement by reading cards from fans

|

UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 23 December 2012

Frankel, the world’s best racehorse, is busy getting ready for his first season as a stallion but like most of us he will enjoy a relaxing Christmas Day.

The Sir Henry Cecil-trained unbeaten colt, whose new breeding is scheduled to begin on Valentine’s Day, has been taken on a series of seven-mile walks as part of his preparations at Banstead Manor Stud, near Newmarket.

Judging by his mail-bag, he clearly remains as popular as ever. Over the last few days Frankel has been keeping a close eye on all the Christmas cards that he has received with the help of Juddmonte’s head stallion man Rob Bowley.

Season's greetings: Frankel looks at his Christmas cards with head stallion man Rob Bowley

Season's greetings: Frankel looks at his Christmas cards with head stallion man Rob Bowley

Philip Michell, Juddmonte Farms general manager, said: “Frankel touched the lives of so many people during his career and we have been inundated with emails and cards enquiring about him – not least in the lead-up to Christmas.

‘All being well, we are intending to stage a series of stud tours next summer when people can come to visit him and the other stallions at Banstead Manor and find out more about the breeding industry.

Unbeaten: Frankel wins theThe Sussex Stakes

Unbeaten: Frankel wins theThe Sussex Stakes

‘Frankel is enjoying his new life with us here and is already very much at home.’

A line of top mares are already booked in to mate with Frankel, the latest being German 2011 Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream whose retirement was announced last Friday.

Mark Cueto believes Sale can perform an escape act inspired by their new coach

Cueto: We can perform the great escape despite record defeat in Europe

|

UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 20 December 2012

Sale resume their Aviva Premiership survival quest at Wasps on Sunday, on the back of a record defeat in Europe.

Losing 62-0 in Toulon was the lowest ebb this season, but Mark Cueto still believes the club can perform an escape act, inspired by their ‘intimidating’ new coach.

The former England wing was part of a side which was brutally put to the sword at Stade Felix Mayol last weekend, as Toulon amassed nearly a half-century of points in the second half.

Escape act: Former England wing Mark Cueto (pictured) is sure that Sale's new coach, John Mitchell will have a galvanising effect on the team as they attempt to avoid relegation

Escape act: Former England wing Mark Cueto (pictured) is sure that Sale's new coach, John Mitchell will have a galvanising effect on the team as they attempt to avoid relegation

Of all the grim setbacks in this troubled campaign, the massacre by the Med was the worst of all, leaving the Cheshire club in a dire state as they prepare to head to Adams Park.

Time is running out for the revival to commence. The only northern team in the Premiership lie at the foot of the table, six points adrift of 11th-placed London Irish, having won just one of their 10 league games so far.

Cueto has known plenty of high-stakes occasions with England and the Lions, as well as his club, over the years, and he is well aware of how much is on the line now.

Gruelling: Cueto is tackled during Sale's 62-0 defeat against Toulon, their heaviest ever defeat in the Heineken Cup

Gruelling: Sale's suffered a 62-0 defeat against Toulon, their heaviest ever defeat in the Heineken Cup

‘Our focus is on the Premiership — saving the club and saving our jobs,’ he said.

‘The defeat in Toulon was a massive disappointment but we have closed the door on it. We have to concentrate all our efforts on this fight for survival.

‘Deep down, I think our squad is too good to be relegated, but I’m also a realist and we’ve only won one of our 10 league games, so I do worry.

Galvanising: Cueto is sure that 'intimidating' new coach John Mitchell, a former All Black, will have a galvanising effect on the team as they fight to stay in the Aviva Premiership

Galvanising: Cueto is sure that 'intimidating' new coach John Mitchell, a former All Black, will have a galvanising effect on the team as they fight to stay in the Aviva Premiership

'I’ve got this season and one more on my contract, so I’m not sure if the situation we’re in is more worrying for me or a 21 or 22-year-old.

‘It’s probably more worrying for someone in my position, because at least they can move on. If the worst came to the worst and the club went down, I’m not sure what would happen, which is a huge worry.

'You have to think about those things but the main focus has to be on staying positive.’

A major concern stemming from the defeat in southern France last weekend is that it undid much of the positive work from the previous game against Toulon eight days earlier, when Sale had battled gamely before losing 17-6 at home.

That performance suggested that the arrival of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell was rapidly having a galvanising effect on Sale and Cueto insisted that the Kiwi’s impact has been positive, despite the result in France.

‘I still think we’ve moved forward in the last two weeks under John Mitchell,’ said the veteran wing.

‘Lots of the lads had pre-conceived ideas about John, but I don’t think he has lived up to the negative ideas people maybe had about him. He is an intense guy who has huge knowledge and experience.

'The way he has focused the squad has been brilliant. We’re not playing in a very different way, but he has brought in plenty of new ideas.

‘John is an intimidating bloke, but sometimes you need that — you can’t just all be best mates and getting on all the time. There has to be a boss; someone in charge. Any successful team in any sport has a guy like that.

‘I think he can instil the belief in us so that we can get out of this situation we’re in. We finished sixth last season and have added three or four good players, so we should be better than we were before, but it hasn’t worked out that way.

'We’re a much better side than we have shown so far, but if you lose four, five or six games on the trot, it starts to affect your belief and confidence.’

Bottom: Sale sit at the bottom of the Premiership table with just one win from their first 10 games

Bottom: Sale sit at the bottom of the Premiership table with just one win from their first 10 games

Cueto was candid in admitting that the club’s senior players are the ones who have let the side down, while rookies such as Ross Harrison and Tommy Taylor have performed admirably in trying circumstances.

Sale added quality signings in the summer, in the shape of Richie Gray and Danny Cipriani, while Eifion Lewis-Roberts returned from Toulon, but all these high-calibre component parts haven’t clicked into place yet.

They will have to soon, ideally against Wasps in High Wycombe, then five days later against Worcester in Salford.

‘We have two massive games coming up this weekend and next weekend, and we need two wins, really,’ said Cueto.

‘London Irish have Leicester at home and Quins away, so on form they should struggle, which means if we can pick up points against Wasps and Worcester, we should be in a much better position.

‘At this stage of the season, London Welsh don’t look like being the team who go down — it’s likely to be us or London Irish.

'But if we get a couple of wins, suddenly it can all turn around. If we win our next two and Irish lose their next two, then we can go ahead of them and would have momentum.

‘We really need to turn the corner soon. We’re under-achieving and we have to take that personally.

'I’ve been in this situation before with Sale and we’ve managed to fight our way out of it, but it’s not a pretty place to be.’

Cueto on Mitchell: 'The way he has focused the squad has been brilliant. Were not playing in a very different way, but he has brought in plenty of new ideas'

Cueto on Mitchell: 'The way he has focused the squad has been brilliant. Were not playing in a very different way, but he has brought in plenty of new ideas'

Djibril Cisse out with Chloe Green in leather outfit that makes him look like Michael Jackson

REVEALED: Cisse in wacko new kit as QPR striker hits the town with latest g-love affair

|

UPDATED:

14:27 GMT, 17 December 2012

Djibril Cisse and QPR returned to winning ways this weekend but the French striker scored a big own goal in the fashion stakes last night.

Cisse, who was back in training at Rangers' Harlington HQ first thing today, turned up to Will.i.am's party in central London with his rumoured squeeze Chloe Green.

The QPR striker, who was dressed a little bit like Michael Jackson in his heyday, attended the launch party alongside the Topshop heiress even though the pair have denied their romance.

Djibril Cisse

Michael Jackson performing the first of two concerts at the National Stadium in Singapore in 2009

I'm looking at the man in the mirror: Cisse (left) last night and Michael Jackson performing in 2009 (right)

His and hers: Cisse (right) spent another evening out with Topshop heiress Chloe Green (left) in matching studded jackets

His and hers: Cisse (right) spent another evening out with Topshop heiress Chloe Green (left) in matching studded jackets

Enlarge

Djibril Cisse

Djibril Cisse's glove

Bootiful: The QPR striker stepped out at Will.I.Am's party in big trainer-boots (left) and a zaney glove (right)

They even turned up in matching leather outfits last night, though Green managed to pull the look off slightly more successfully than the former Liverpool and Sunderland star.

Cisse, who has scored three goals this season, had reason to celebrate after QPR recorded their first win of the season against Fulham on Saturday.

So far this season has been the worst in the club’s history but two goals from Adel Taarabt put an end to their terrible run in a 2-1 triumph.

Meanwhile, Cisse's manager Harry Redknapp offered Taarabt some home truths ahead of Saturday's crucial first win.

‘I took him off last week (against Wigan) and he wasn’t in the best of moods,' Redknapp revealed. 'He didn’t behave in the best of ways so I had a good chat with him in the office on Monday morning. He’s responded to that.

Back to the day job: Cisse (right) trains today with Adel Taarabt as coach Joe Jordan (centre) watches

Back to the day job: Cisse (right) trains today with Adel Taarabt as coach Joe Jordan (centre) watches

Glovely job: Cisse, in more conventional finger-wear appeals for a free-kick during Rangers' first win of the season against Fulham on Saturday

Glovely job: Cisse, in more conventional finger-wear appeals for a free-kick during Rangers' first win of the season against Fulham on Saturday

‘I didn’t put my arm around him, I didn’t call him in and say: 'Oh, come on'. I was disappointed with one or two things when I took him off last week, he had the hump on the bench and all that.

‘So we sorted that out. I said to him, don’t throw your arms up when you lose the ball, don’t stand with your hands on your hips and don’t put your hands on your head, just get after the ball if you lose it otherwise everyone sees that you made a mistake and it gets highlighted.

‘He did that on Saturday and he was fantastic. He can be a top, top player. He’s got ability like not many people you’ve ever seen in your life.’

Djibril Cisse in 'The Pr9ject', his clothes shop in Newcastle

Footballer Djibril Cisse

Call the fashion police: Eccentric French striker Djibril Cisse in a couple of garish outfits

Frankel settling into new home at Banstead Manor Stud

Frankel's back at start as world's greatest settles into stud where he was born

|

UPDATED:

16:18 GMT, 8 November 2012

Feline fine: Frankel meets his new friend at Banstead

Feline fine: Frankel meets his new friend at Banstead

Frankel, the world's highest-rated racehorse, has begun settling into his new home after he left Sir Henry Cecil’s stable and returned to his birthplace, Banstead Manor Stud.

The Newmarket stud, just a few miles from Cecil's stable, will be where Frankel's new career as a stallion for Juddmonte Farms will start next year.

Philip Mitchell, the stud's general manager, said: 'In the foaling unit on February 11, 2008, at 11.40pm, little did we realise that we were witnessing the birth of a phenomenal racehorse.

'The rest as they say is history. And it is now extremely exciting that Frankel will be returning to the Stallion Unit at Banstead, some 500 yards from where he was born.'

Frankel is retired to stud as the winner of all 14 of his races, 10 of which came at Group One level. His glittering racing career came to end when he won the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 20.

Paying tribute to his champion, Cecil said: 'There is no doubt Frankel has been a brilliant racehorse. I am pretty certain that there has never been a better or more talented thoroughbred.

Greatest: The unbeaten Frankel has been retired to stud back at his birthplace

Greatest: The unbeaten Frankel has been retired to stud back at his birthplace

Greatest: The unbeaten Frankel has been retired to stud back at his birthplace

‘He had the speed to be a champion sprinter and then, once he grew up and settled, he got a distance with a turn of foot that makes champions.

'Today is a sad day in some ways for us as he has given us so much pleasure over the last three years. But I want to thank Frankel for so much – for being such a very special part of my training career. Thank you, Frankel.'

Frankel and Sir Henry Cecil sign off in style

Frank goodness! Superhorse Frankel and trainer Cecil sign off in style at Ascot

|

UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 21 October 2012

A young and freakish horse was welcomed into the winners' enclosure as 'The Champion of All Time'.

Watching on, a frail and ageing chap tapped his fingers on the rail and his arctic-blue eyes glistened.

Frankel and his trainer Sir Henry Cecil, two of the great beasts of the racing world, combined at Ascot on Saturday to create as poignant a sporting scene as could be imagined.

Outstanding: Trainer Sir Henry Cecil (right) watched Frankel romp to victory at Ascot in style

Outstanding: Trainer Sir Henry Cecil (right) watched Frankel romp to victory at Ascot in style

Unbeatable: Frankel made it 14 wins from as many races in the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Unbeatable: Frankel made it 14 wins from as many races in the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Frankel factfile

Sire: Galileo

Dam: Kind

Age: Four

Foaled: February 11, 2008

Owner: Prince Khalid Abdullah

Trainer: Sir Henry Cecil

Career earnings: 2,998,302.

Race record: Fourteen wins from 14 starts, including 10 victories at Group One level.

Group One victories: Champion Stakes (2012); Juddmonte International (2012); Sussex Stakes (2012); Queen Anne Stakes (2012); Lockinge Stakes (2012); Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (2011); Sussex Stakes (2011); St James's Palace Stakes (2011): 2000 Guineas (2011); Dewhurst Stakes (2010)

Other notable wins: Greenham Stakes (2011), Royal Lodge Stakes (2010).

Frankel deserved every accolade
Roget's Thesaurus could bestow, and he was lavished with every one of
them in the accompanying media love-in.

His 14th and farewell victory in the
mile-and-a-quarter Qipco Champion Stakes on alien, rain-softened
terrain, against classy rivals, confirmed his status as arguably the
greatest equine specimen in 300 years of breeding.

As for Sir Henry Richard Amherst
Cecil, nephew of the third Lord Amherst of Hackney, he is left with a
hoarse whisper after a six-year fight against cancer waged as defiantly
and jauntily as the angle at which he wore his brown trilby.

His record since beginning his career
in 1969 – 10-time champion trainer, 37 Classic winners, four Derby
winners and more than 70 Royal Ascot winners – is a mark of the man.

But figures do not reveal enough
about his special touch with horses and humans. He trains by instinct
and sagacity rather than any manual. With regard to his common touch
with us two-legged creatures, he is in danger of giving toffs a good
name.

Downing Street take note. Always as
ready to talk to a scruff as a prince, he doffed his hat to ladies as
they greeted him. He signed autographs, left-handed with a big downward
stroke for the first line of the H and a quick scrawl thereafter.

Hug it out: Tom Queally grabs hold of Frankel's neck after their impressive victory

Hug it out: Tom Queally grabs hold of Frankel's neck after their impressive victory

One woman asked him a question and he pointed to his mouth, leaving her to lipread that he could barely talk.

He thought better of it and returned.
Pointing to the grass with those big expressive hands of his, he half
mimed, half whispered by way of explaining that the going was not
ideally to Frankel's liking.

Cecil craned his neck to tell me: 'I probably got him too relaxed.'

Frankel was dawdling in the stalls as the rest of the field left. It made a race of it.

But Cecil added: 'He's a magnificent horse. He is the best I've had and the best I've seen.

'I'd be amazed if there has ever been a better one. This has been the perfect day.'

Cecil took off his hat for the
presentation. In fact, the millinery is a recent addition to his
wardrobe as chemotherapy has left his hair wispy.

The ovation he received was the biggest of the day. Three cheers were proposed.

We are not acclaiming a saint. He is a
69-year-old who laughs at the notion he might be the only boy from his
prep school, Sunningdale, to fail the exam to Eton.

Job done: Saudi Arabian owner Prince Khalid Abdullah (right) congratulates Cecil on an historic day at Ascot

Job done: Saudi Arabian owner Prince Khalid Abdullah (right) congratulates Cecil on an historic day at Ascot

Forget it: Cirrus Des Aigles ridden by Olivier Peslier (right) had no chance of catching Frankel

Forget it: Cirrus Des Aigles ridden by Olivier Peslier (right) had no chance of catching Frankel

He went instead to Canford and then,
with his twin brother David, to the Royal Agricultural College,
Cirencester, where by his own admission he studied 'drinking and
gambling'.

He left without sitting an exam. His
life was occasionally paraded in the gossip columns, proving that
stables life and carnal lusts are not just Jilly Cooper fantasies.

He spiralled into decline when his twin died of cancer in 2000 and hit the bottle hard.

His career was ebbing away at the same time, a falling out with the significant owner, Sheik Mohammed, central to the malaise.

The 2005 season is what the Queen,
who was in attendance among Saturday's 32,000 sell-out crowd, might call
his annus horribilis. He had just 12 winners, 101 fewer than nine years
before.

His prize money amounted to a meagre 145,000.

Royal approval: The Queen watched Frankel win the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Royal approval: The Queen watched Frankel win the Champion Stakes at Ascot

While on Newmarket Heath he overheard someone say: 'That's Henry Cecil. He should have retired a long time ago.'

It fired him up. This year he won
2.65million. The dandyish Cecil , whose catholic tastes are hinted at
by the tin soldiers and fossils on display in his study, admits that
Frankel, along with his third wife Jane, has sustained him through the
illness.

How will he fare now that the
four-year-old colt, his all-consuming professional passion, is going to
Banstead Manor Stud to begin his life as a playboy bachelor

Around 120 trysts with the world's most alluring mares are planned next year at 100,000 a go.

Frankel deserves it. He is the
outstanding horse of our generation. Prior to Saturday, he had won his
previous 13 races by a total of 74 and a half lengths.

Crowd pleaser: Tom Queally and Frankel pass the stands after winning the Champion Stakes

Crowd pleaser: Tom Queally and Frankel pass the stands after winning the Champion Stakes

And if arguments could be put forward
for the likes of Sea Bird, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, Sea The Stars
and Dancing Brave as being rivals for the title of greatest ever, no
horse ever did more to send the spirits soaring than Frankel.

Twice in his iridescent career he won
by 10 lengths or more, including unforgettably at Royal Ascot this
year.W e can laud him to the heavens now, but you sensed the crowd were
nervous before the race.

Eyes down: Willie Carson and Claire Balding take in the action

Eyes down: Willie Carson and Claire Balding take in the action

Eyes down: Willie Carson and Claire Balding take in the action

Going gets tough: there had been worries about the state of the track ahead of the big race

Going gets tough: there had been worries about the state of the track ahead of the big race

Yes, Frankel was 2-11 but there was
so much legendary status at stake in these sodden conditions that it was
a roar of relief as much as joy that broke out as he first drew level
with the French gelding Cirrus Des Aigles at the crest of the bend and
then quickened away to triumph by a length and three quarters.

Jockey Tom Queally said: 'He didn't
bounce along the ground like he can. I gave him a crack (of the whip),
which isn't common, and he powered off. He's done so much for so many
people.

'For me to get this chance is a million-to-one shot.'

Yes, Frankel has added lustre to Flat racing to rival that contemporary legend of National Hunt, Kauto Star.

No, Frankel never raced over a
mile-and-a-half, an omission some believe means that he cannot be hailed
as first among equals. I leave that to the equine historians. I merely
celebrate a free-flowing, big-lunged, long-striding phenomenon and his
stylish trainer for their own unique splendour.

Full house: It was no course to see the stadium packed to the rafters

Full house: It was no surprise to see the course packed to the rafters

Odds on: Frankel was the huge favourite to win

Odds on: Frankel was the huge favourite to win

Frankel finale at Ascot under threat due to rain

Rain threat to Frankel's grand finale: Racing world holds its breath ahead of Ascot spectacular

|

UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 19 October 2012

The team behind unbeaten Frankel will walk the course at Ascot on Saturday morning with fears that the world’s best racehorse may have to pull out of his 14th and final run in the 1.3million Qipco Champion Stakes.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khaled Abdullah, said: ‘I will be guided by (trainer) Sir Henry Cecil. We would only pull out if we considered the ground unsafe.’

Wonder horse: Frankel storming to victory at Newbury earlier this year

Wonder horse: Frankel storming to victory at Newbury earlier this year

That stage had not been reached on Friday night but more rain had added heavy patches to the soft going and further showers were due.

Cecil concedes Frankel will be going into ‘no-man’s land’ if the ground is heavy in a race run in front of the Queen and a sell-out 32,000 crowd.

The concerns prompted a surge of support for Cirrus Des Aigles on Friday. An estimated 5m will be bet on Frankel, which could cost bookmakers 1m. Bookies say a Cirrus Des Aigles win might cost them twice as much.

Frankel

Frankel

Glory days: Tom Queally celebrates victory on board Frankel this year at York (left) and Newmarket (right)

Cecil has spoken about his excitement ahead of what could be a final race for his wonder horse.

Speaking to Radio 5 Live, he said: 'The adrenalin is going, we've got him so far unbeaten and I'd like him to win at Ascot. He's getting easier, he used to be difficult, used to pull a lot. He's growing up, he's like me a late developer.

One more race Sir Henry Cecil would dearly love Frankel to claim victory at Ascot

One more race Sir Henry Cecil would dearly love Frankel to claim victory at Ascot

'Because he's growing up he's easier to train so what I ask him to do he does it. “He's a better horse, he's an improving horse.

'It's been a great honour (to train Frankel), slightly nerve wracking.'

Willie Carson: Me and Clare Balding – plus why BBC sport head should be jailed

Willie Carson: Me, schoolmistress Clare – and why the head of BBC sport should be jailed!

|

UPDATED:

07:26 GMT, 18 October 2012

Two racing heavyweights bow out at Ascot on Saturday. When Frankel gallops past the post in the 1.3million Qipco Champion Stakes, his future will be as a pampered, millions-earning stallion.

Willie Carson will pick up his box — the one that ensures he can look BBC racing anchor Clare Balding in the eye — and walk away from the small screen as the credits roll on the BBC’s final Flat racing broadcast.

The winner of 3,828 races, 17 British Classics and five jockey championships, who became one of TV’s faces of racing, will still have his highly successful stud in Gloucestershire, own his racehorses and support the efforts of his Newmarket trainer son Tony and grandson jockey William.

But it will be the end of an era.

Smiles better: Willie Carson has a laugh with Clare Balding

Smiles better: Willie Carson has a laugh with Clare Balding

For many, Carson, 70 next month, represents a link to a golden age of jockeyship — of Lester Piggott, Pat Eddery, Joe Mercer and Steve Cauthen.

A Question of Sport captain with England rugby union captain Bill Beaumont in the early 1980s, Carson crossed over into the wider world.

As BBC’s Flat-racing team prepare for their final run, Carson can’t hide his disappointment that racing chose a 15m, four-year deal with Channel 4 which will see the sport disappear completely from the national broadcaster after it screens the Welsh National on December 27.

‘The head of BBC sport and the racing fraternity should both get their hands rapped over this. The two of them should have been put in jail,’ he joked this week as he showed his yearlings to potential clients at the Newmarket sales — wearing the same hat as when he tackled those bushtucker trials on I’m a Celebrity.

‘I don’t think the BBC will ever come back. Racing should have thought of that and not just gone for the extra quid.

‘They
should have thought of the long-term future of horseracing. I don’t
think they took that on board. Channel 4 is a very good racing
programme, but it is for a minority. BBC went to a bigger audience and
would get more people involved in racing than Channel 4 ever will.

Boxing clever: Carson perches on his 'extra seven inches'

Boxing clever: Carson perches on his 'extra seven inches'

‘Those annoying bookmaker adverts every 10 minutes put people off. The rhythm of the programme gets absolutely crucified. They kill the whole programme.’

Not everyone has warmed to Carson,
but his rapport with Balding, the post-Olympics darling of British
sports broadcasting, created a memorable double act. Especially when the
impish, occasionally wayward former jockey is brought back into line
with a raised Balding eyebrow or a metaphorical slap around the head.

‘It
seems to be a little team that works,’ said Carson. ‘There is quite a
bit of entertainment going on. It is not just enlightening the people
about horses — there is a little bit of tongue in cheek. Things are not
done on purpose but we don’t mind a little bit of laughter.

‘Clare is unbelievable. Many years ago, I said she should be running the BBC and I still think she might even get there yet.

‘She
is a very intelligent girl. She is good at her job and has learned her
trade. She is basically running the show. Years ago, we used to take the
mick out of her — it was, “Do this, do that” in the meetings. Now we
just shut up and get on with it. There was no point putting in much
input because her input was always better than ours.’

But you can’t ignore Carson’s input when it comes to horses and his view on Frankel.

The man who won the Derby four times, including on the outstanding Nashwan in 1989, and was carried faster than most jockeys can dream of on jet-propelled sprinter Dayjur, is emphatic where Frankel stands in racing history.

‘Nashwan would need a tow rope (to keep up) and, make no mistake, Nashwan was a very good horse,’ he said. ‘We’ve always had horses which create impressions like Nijinsky and Brigadier Gerard.

‘They are all great horses in their time but I just get the feeling this is the best there has ever been.

‘He walks well and he’s strong, powerful and athletic. But there is nothing to look at and say, “That is why he’s good.” We’ll have to wait until he dies to find out what makes him such a great horse.

‘He must have fantastic lungs and a big heart. He canters when other horses are flat out. I don’t expect to see one as good again.’

In his pomp: Carson, on Dunfermline, just beats Freeze the Secret at Epsom to win the Oaks in 1977

In his pomp: Carson, on Dunfermline, just beats Freeze the Secret at Epsom to win the Oaks in 1977

However, the prospect of copious rain to turn the Ascot going heavy does concern Carson, with a potent opponent in French-trained 2011 Champion Stakes winner Cirrus Des Aigles.

‘The round course at Ascot does get tremendously slow. Sometimes it becomes a test of attrition, not so much the best horse.

‘Frankel is a very heavy horse and I would not have thought — and I am making excuses before the race — that he would love heavy ground. Normally, those sort of horses have to work so much harder to lift that weight over the ground but we are talking about a phenomenon.’ A bit like Carson.

The new generation of broadcasters may be slicker than him but also blander.

And what of his famous box

‘Clare is the schoolmistress. She is telling me what to do and keeps saying to get it on eBay. I’ll try to make some money for charity.

‘It is made out of metal with a nice grille on the top so that I don’t slip. The inscription underneath it is “Here is the extra seven inches you asked for”.’

He may only be five feet tall, racing weight 7st 10lb, but Carson will always be a giant of the racing world.

Willie Carson: Me, schoolmistress Clare – and why the head of BBC sport should be jailed!

Willie Carson: Me, schoolmistress Clare – and why the head of BBC sport should be jailed!

|

UPDATED:

19:55 GMT, 17 October 2012

Two racing heavyweights bow out at Ascot on Saturday. When Frankel gallops past the post in the 1.3million Qipco Champion Stakes, his future will be as a pampered, millions-earning stallion.

Willie Carson will pick up his box — the one that ensures he can look BBC racing anchor Clare Balding in the eye — and walk away from the small screen as the credits roll on the BBC’s final Flat racing broadcast.

The winner of 3,828 races, 17 British Classics and five jockey championships, who became one of TV’s faces of racing, will still have his highly successful stud in Gloucestershire, own his racehorses and support the efforts of his Newmarket trainer son Tony and grandson jockey William.

But it will be the end of an era.

Smiles better: Willie Carson has a laugh with Clare Balding

Smiles better: Willie Carson has a laugh with Clare Balding

For many, Carson, 70 next month, represents a link to a golden age of jockeyship — of Lester Piggott, Pat Eddery, Joe Mercer and Steve Cauthen.

A Question of Sport captain with England rugby union captain Bill Beaumont in the early 1980s, Carson crossed over into the wider world.

As BBC’s Flat-racing team prepare for their final run, Carson can’t hide his disappointment that racing chose a 15m, four-year deal with Channel 4 which will see the sport disappear completely from the national broadcaster after it screens the Welsh National on December 27.

‘The head of BBC sport and the racing fraternity should both get their hands rapped over this. The two of them should have been put in jail,’ he joked this week as he showed his yearlings to potential clients at the Newmarket sales — wearing the same hat as when he tackled those bushtucker trials on I’m a Celebrity.

‘I don’t think the BBC will ever come back. Racing should have thought of that and not just gone for the extra quid.

‘They
should have thought of the long-term future of horseracing. I don’t
think they took that on board. Channel 4 is a very good racing
programme, but it is for a minority. BBC went to a bigger audience and
would get more people involved in racing than Channel 4 ever will.

Boxing clever: Carson perches on his 'extra seven inches'

Boxing clever: Carson perches on his 'extra seven inches'

‘Those annoying bookmaker adverts every 10 minutes put people off. The rhythm of the programme gets absolutely crucified. They kill the whole programme.’

Not everyone has warmed to Carson,
but his rapport with Balding, the post-Olympics darling of British
sports broadcasting, created a memorable double act. Especially when the
impish, occasionally wayward former jockey is brought back into line
with a raised Balding eyebrow or a metaphorical slap around the head.

‘It
seems to be a little team that works,’ said Carson. ‘There is quite a
bit of entertainment going on. It is not just enlightening the people
about horses — there is a little bit of tongue in cheek. Things are not
done on purpose but we don’t mind a little bit of laughter.

‘Clare is unbelievable. Many years ago, I said she should be running the BBC and I still think she might even get there yet.

‘She
is a very intelligent girl. She is good at her job and has learned her
trade. She is basically running the show. Years ago, we used to take the
mick out of her — it was, “Do this, do that” in the meetings. Now we
just shut up and get on with it. There was no point putting in much
input because her input was always better than ours.’

But you can’t ignore Carson’s input when it comes to horses and his view on Frankel.

The man who won the Derby four times, including on the outstanding Nashwan in 1989, and was carried faster than most jockeys can dream of on jet-propelled sprinter Dayjur, is emphatic where Frankel stands in racing history.

‘Nashwan would need a tow rope (to keep up) and, make no mistake, Nashwan was a very good horse,’ he said. ‘We’ve always had horses which create impressions like Nijinsky and Brigadier Gerard.

‘They are all great horses in their time but I just get the feeling this is the best there has ever been.

‘He walks well and he’s strong, powerful and athletic. But there is nothing to look at and say, “That is why he’s good.” We’ll have to wait until he dies to find out what makes him such a great horse.

‘He must have fantastic lungs and a big heart. He canters when other horses are flat out. I don’t expect to see one as good again.’

In his pomp: Carson, on Dunfermline, just beats Freeze the Secret at Epsom to win the Oaks in 1977

In his pomp: Carson, on Dunfermline, just beats Freeze the Secret at Epsom to win the Oaks in 1977

However, the prospect of copious rain to turn the Ascot going heavy does concern Carson, with a potent opponent in French-trained 2011 Champion Stakes winner Cirrus Des Aigles.

‘The round course at Ascot does get tremendously slow. Sometimes it becomes a test of attrition, not so much the best horse.

‘Frankel is a very heavy horse and I would not have thought — and I am making excuses before the race — that he would love heavy ground. Normally, those sort of horses have to work so much harder to lift that weight over the ground but we are talking about a phenomenon.’ A bit like Carson.

The new generation of broadcasters may be slicker than him but also blander.

And what of his famous box

‘Clare is the schoolmistress. She is telling me what to do and keeps saying to get it on eBay. I’ll try to make some money for charity.

‘It is made out of metal with a nice grille on the top so that I don’t slip. The inscription underneath it is “Here is the extra seven inches you asked for”.’

He may only be five feet tall, racing weight 7st 10lb, but Carson will always be a giant of the racing world.

Frankel half-brother Morpheus racing at Nottingham

Morpheus follows in half-brother Frankel's footsteps in Nottingham meet

|

UPDATED:

22:08 GMT, 16 October 2012

The Frankel team have played down expectations ahead debut of the wonder colt’s half-brother Morpheus in the opening race at Nottingham.

Four days before Sir Henry Cecil's unbeaten colt races for the final time in Saturday’s Qipco Champion Stakes, Morpheus takes on 12 opponents in the mile maiden.

However, Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khaled Abdullah, said he has concerns how Morpheus will handle the soft ground.

Oh brother! Frankel's sibling Morpheus will race in Nottingham

Oh brother! Frankel's sibling Morpheus will race in Nottingham

He added: 'He's a promising colt. He's not quite as robust – a racier type, although having said that there isn't much racier than Frankel.

'Is he going to be Frankel I hope so, but it's unlikely.'

Frankel and Morpheus share a dam in Kind but while Frankel’s sire is Galileo, Morpheus is by Oasis Dream.

The two other Frankel siblings to have raced have both won group races.

Bullet Train, a son of Sadler’s Wells who will again be Frankel’s pacemaker on Saturday, won the 2010 Group Three Lingfield Derby Trial while full-brother Noble Mission won Goodwood's Group Three Gordon Stakes from subsequent St Leger hero Encke.

Racy: Lord Grimthorpe (left) on has played down Morpheus' chances

Racy: Lord Grimthorpe (left) on has played down Morpheus' chances

Abdullah has a yearling half-sister to Frankel – also by Oasis Dream – waiting in the wings.

Coral quote 33-1 that Morpheus wins a British Classic and 12-1 he wins a group one race in this country in 2013.

Spokesman David Stevens said: ‘That’s how highly we rate he family.’

Trainer Charlie Hills has not yet made plans to replace Derby winning brother Michael as stable jockey.

Michael, 49, who won the 1996 Epsom Classic on Shaamit and was on board his brother’s 1,000 Guineas hope Just The Judge when she landed Saturday’s Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket, retires at the end of the season after a career spanning four decades and 2,085 winners.

Charlie said: ‘Michael has been a true professional and a great help since I started training. Hopefully, he still will be.’

Richard Hughes followed his seven-timer at Windsor on Monday with a treble at Leicester headed by impressive Van De Neer, who may be supplemented to the Racing Post Trophy on Saturday week.

Frankel fever set to hit Ascot at Champion Stakes

Frankel fever set to hit Ascot with 40,000 expected for super-horse's final run

|

UPDATED:

21:04 GMT, 3 September 2012

The clamour to witness Frankel's final run looks like pulling in Ascot's biggest modern-day crowd outside the royal meeting.

Sir Henry Cecil's unbeaten colt will sign off with a 14th career start in the Champion Stakes on October 20.

Stripped of the temporary facilities used at its great summer festival, Ascot's autumn capacity is only 30,000.

Unbeaten: Frankel is set for a final ride at the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Unbeaten: Frankel is set for a final ride at the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Frankel increased the attendance by more than 50 per cent at York last month.

Just under 27,000 went to the inaugural Qipco British Champions Day last year and officials believe Frankel could increase that to around 40,000 if capacity allowed. The Premier enclosure has already sold out.

Rod Street, chief executive of the British Champions series, plans talks with Ascot about raising capacity.

He added: 'The aspiration for Champions Day was a crowd of 40,000 within five years but that did not take into account the Frankel factor.'