Frankel – The Best Ever? Could Brigadier Gerard have taken him on?

August 25, 2012

Is Frankel the best ever Flat Race Horse the World has ever seen, or are we caught up in the moment?

I can be very certain of my answer. Whilst I am not the springiest of chickens, I can honestly say I have never seen a race horse of this calibre; so comfortably able to dispose of top class quality opposition with such aplomb, in my lifetime. I would be quite surprised if I were to witness something of this greatness ever again. Indeed, I would be truly blessed. Perhaps others may be considered better, from “before my time”, I’m sure there are some staunch fans of Brigidier Gerard, Sea Bird, Mill Reef, or more recently Dubai Millenium. Shergar would make many peoples top 10

Just over the past few years we have had the likes of Sea The Stars and  Harbinger but would either of those two, or any of the others mentioned have got close to Frankel. And what might he have done had they?

Henry Cecil’s superstar has been given an official rating of 140 for the run at York in the Juddmont International 2012. The second time he has gained the rating to go with the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on his last appearance. He beat Fahhr 6 lengths at Goodwood and 7 at York. This is the first time any horse has been given an official rating of 140 twice, EVER!

The interesting thing is, could he be even better than he has showed? Yes we have seen him under pressure before when Zoffany got to within three quarters of a length at Royal Ascot in the St James Palace Stakes in 2011. That was his 6th consecutive victory, 5th Group win, and Third Group 1. He hasn’t looked back since, extending that run to a record breaking 13 consecutive victories, taking his Group 1 haul to ten! What rating could he have achieved had he been pushed to fight for a win, or would indeed, that have found him rated down?

Since that St James Palace stakes win, he has not had a rival finish within 4 lengths, and has won comfortably by 11 lengths from top, top class opponents. To expand on how good his opposition is, and to dispel any thoughts that Frankel is around at a time when opposition is not at it’s strongest, or indeed that the better opposition has avoided him. I have some figures to follow, that I admit to not checking but also have no reason to doubt the source.

The 62 rivals that Frankel has beaten so far in his career have the following winning records behind them..

  • 18 Listed Race wins
  • 32 Group 3′s
  • 39 Group 2′s
  • 45 Group 1′s

Fascinating Frankel Fact – One of the most influential Sires in Thoroughbred History, “Northern Dancer”, is both Frankels Grandsire on his Sires side, and Great Grandsire on his Dam’s. It is quite well documented that Northern Dancer is also Great-Great-Grandsire to a certain Black Caviar!

So is there another better than Frankel? Timeform have finally given him a rating of 147 to surpass the annual record of 145 given to Sea Bird. Whilst he was rated higher than Brigadier Gerard, many would consider the latter to be the better based on the fact we saw Sea Bird in the UK just once when winning the Derby.

Brigadier Gerard won an amazing 17 of his 18 contested races, 12 of which are now rated as Group 1 events. Those that remain in the Gerard Camp probably need Frankel to win another brace of Group 1′s to equal this record, although few would argue he has completed his ten in somewhat more emphatic style.

Much debate has passed on the merits of Brigadier Gerard and Mill Reef. Many preferring to stick with the former as the best of the pair based on his comfortable defeat of Mill Reef in the 2000 Guineas of 1971. (I only just missed it!). Mill Reef won 12 of his 14 races and was better at further than the 1 mile trip of the Guineas. This is the basis of much argument between Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard followers but to be fair, Mill Reefs optimum trip was over further eventually.

It was only three years ago Sea The Stars was hailed as the “Greatest Ever Flat Race Horse”. This after winning 7 of his 8 contested races including five group 1′s. He didn’t race as a 4yo, retired to stud after winning the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. Who would have thought he would have usurped so quickly, if indeed you think he has.

It would have been a sight to behold to see Brigadier Gerard and Frankel go head to head over a mile. Comparisons seprated by generations are impossible, but the simple ease with which Frankel has won his races give him a very strong argument.

Who is your best ever? Are they mentioned above?

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One Response to Frankel – The Best Ever? Could Brigadier Gerard have taken him on?

  1. Roger Bardoville on August 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    good article; just correct you on a couple of things; Frankel has won 9 group 1s, 8 on the bounce and sea the stars won 6 group 1s in his ‘one a month’ sequence. Frankel is probably the only horse ever that would start favorite in every group 1 from 5f to 2 miles and what was truly remarkable about the international stakes. imo was that 2/3 mins after they passed the line, he was still pulling Queallys arms out and had barely no sweat showing at rest, he actually skipped past the line. I have to say Sea Bird looked phenomenal over a mile and a half and Dancing Brave was said to have clocked under 11 secs for the last furlong of the Arc; that is unbelievable. Its Frankel for me; he looks like he hasn’t even peaked yet!!

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