Frankel Still Has Much To Prove…

Frankel

Frankel - not Pegasus yet...

It may be true, dear reader, that I have been trying to find reasons to oppose Frankel for some time now. And the reason for this should be clear.

It is not because I don't like the connections. On the contrary, 'Sir' Henry Cecil has always been revered in the virtual pages of this virtual diary.

It is not because I don't think he's a very good horse. Clearly, both his unbeaten form figures and the manner of a couple of those wins, suggest he is at least very good.

Rather, my stance is based on available odds and evidence to date. In other words, I didn't think Frankel was good value at 4/6 on Saturday, nor at 2/1 for the Guineas and 4/1 for the Derby prior to Saturday's victory in the 2010 Dewhurst Stakes.

And now, having witnessed that performance in the flesh, I think Frankel is abominable value for the 2000 Guineas at a best priced 5/4, and for the Derby at a best of 5/1 and a joke price for William Hill of 7/4. That really is embarrassing for them, whatever their liabilities. That he's lengthened in the Derby betting is interesting, but still of no interest here at Geegeez Towers.

Let's take a look at the '2yo race of the century' as it was somewhat inappropriately called.

There were three main contenders, and three horses considered to be complete rags, as a betting market thus, showed:

Frankel                           4/6
Dream Ahead               5/2
Saamidd                         7/1
Roderic O'Connor      25/1
Glor Na Mara               33/1
Waiter's Dream           50/1

That the second and third favourites were stuffed out of sight, and the fourth and fifth home are pretty reliable yardsticks, strongly implies that Frankel beat three reasonable horses and two sick horses.

Dream Ahead,  in whose basket my eggs were firmly cracked, has subsequently been deemed to have not had sufficient recovery time since his Middle Park demolition job a fortnight prior. This is a reasonable excuse, although he looked magnificent in his coat beforehand.

Saamidd was not believed to have enjoyed the ground. Irrespective of the veracity of that perception, he clearly failed to run his race as he'd previously stuffed Waiter's Dream by a facile three lengths, eased down.

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The runner-up, Roderic O'Connor, ran a cracker after a break and coming off a moderate maiden win. Although it's hard to take anything away from him, suggestions that 14/1 is a fair price for the Guineas are faintly ridiculous. He still has it all to prove for me.

Glor Na Mara continues to plug on in top class and deserves an ease in grade to get his confidence back.

This is how the official handicapper put it, and I couldn't agree more:

"I appreciate that Frankel looks to have the makings of a superstar and the way he quickened past his field was impressive. It is reasonable to believe that he would have won by further but for getting tired after racing keenly in the early stages. There is every hope that he will prove to be an exceptional horse.

“However, with Dream Ahead and Saamidd clearly not running to their best, the form of the placed horses makes it impossible to give Frankel an exceptional rating yet.

“The runner-up, Roderic O’Connor, was the winner of one of his two races – a maiden at the Curragh – for which he was provisionally assessed at less than 100 in Ireland. The third horse, Glor Na Mara, is still a maiden after six starts. He had a rating in Ireland of 112 before the race and had recently been disappointing. The fourth horse, Waiter’s Dream, was rated 109 for finishing third behind Saamidd last time.

“Having talked it over with the Irish Senior Handicapper, Garry O’Gorman, we have agreed to raise the ratings of all the placed horses. Roderic O’Connor will be rated 118. Glor Na Mara will be raised to 113, as will Waiter’s Dream.

“Frankel’s rating goes up too, from 123 before the race to 124 and it may go higher still. On the solid form of beating Roderic O’Connor by two and a quarter lengths and Glor Na Mara by five, this is the appropriate rating for the achievement rather than for the expectation of better yet to come.

“However, there is the possibility that the figures for Frankel’s win in the Royal Lodge Stakes may be raised if the placed horses perform well in the coming weeks.

“For comparison, this century only New Approach (126) has been rated higher for winning the Dewhurst Stakes. He won the 2007 renewal. The placed horses that day were the previously unbeaten Group-race winner Fast Company, Raven’s Pass who had won the Solario Stakes by seven lengths and Rio De La Plata who had already won Group 1 and Group 2 races. There were three other Group 1 or Group 2 winners further back in that field.

“We did not get the “two-year-old race of the century” but we did get an exciting winner. For Saamidd it appears that the ground was a major factor in his disappointing run. The double that Dream Ahead was attempting, of winning the Middle Park and then the Dewhurst, has not been achieved since 1982 and I think we saw on Saturday why that is such a tough task. There will be other great days for both of them."

********

The time was fast in relation to the Group 2 for older horses run just prior to the Dewhurst. But it was slow in relation to the handicap run on Friday, to the tune of 1.6 seconds (or eight lengths).

Of course, it is possible that there was some easing in the ground overnight due to the rain that fell Saturday morning, but still I'm not sure this was fast enough to win a Guineas.

Moreover, there are very few horses whose best two year old form is good enough to win a Guineas. In other words, Frankel will have to improve physically and in terms of ability to win next May. He may well be capable of doing this, and it does feel a little spiteful picking holes in an unbeaten colt. But... at 5/4 we simply HAVE to look elsewhere.

The media have grabbed hold of this one, and with the 'Sir' Henry angle giving them guaranteed back page copy, he's certain to be shorter than his true odds.

The final nail in this particular coffin is this, the fate of the favourite in the 2000 Guineas in recent years:

2010 - St Nicholas Abbey - Evens Fav - 6th (winner was 33/1)
2009 - Delegator - 3/1 Fav - 2nd (winner was 8/1)
2008 - New Approach - 11/8 Fav - 2nd (judged best Dewhurst winner of last decade...) (winner was 11/1)
2007 - Adagio - 4/1 Fav - 12th (winner was 25/1)
2006 - George Washington - 6/4 Fav - WON
2005 - Dubawi - 11/8 Fav - 5th (winner was 13/2)
2004 - One Cool Cat - 15/8 Fav - 13th (winner was 11/2)
2003 - Hold That Tiger - 4/1 Fav - 17th (winner was 9/2)
2002 - Hawk Wing - 6/4 Fav - 2nd (winner was 9/1)
2001 - Tobougg - 4/1 Fav - 9th (winner was 11/1)
2000 - Giant's Causeway - 7/2 Fav - 2nd (winner was 13/2)

There is clearly little point in backing a horse at just better than even money in the context of the above.

My value pick, Casamento, is scheduled to race on Saturday in the Racing Post Trophy, for which he is the 11/4 favourite currently. His 16/1 quote (as low as 10's in places) is something that will give ante-post punters much more reason for cheer over the winter, especially if - as expected - he does the biz on the weekend.

********

Talking of the weekend, the first Narrowing The Field selections will be running in the Persian War Hurdle this Saturday.

I've been flicking through the 2010/11 manual this morning, and it's hugely impressive. It runs to 191 pages, none of which is waffle. If that sounds daunting, then it isn't especially, because it is broken down race by race. There's a race per page, and that means there are 147 races covered between now and next May.

As well as the manual, Ben's excellent service also includes an update line where he'll provide you with the selections for each of the races. And... he's bundling in loads of other goodies throughout the season as well. This is one of just two National Hunt season-specific services I plan to use this Winter, and I highly recommend you take a look too.

Check out Ben's NTF service here.

Matt

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14 replies
  1. Avatar
    john cuff says:

    Matt,

    I might be asking naive or impudent little questions here.

    I’ve latched onto Ben’s recent freebies via the Narrowing the Field website and it all looks very interesting and professional although somewhat initially bewildering trying to take in “dosage” etc.

    You say that you intend to use it as one of your NH specific services this winter, I have 2 questions:

    1. Will you be using his selection service and, if so, would you use a staking plan and again, if so, which staking plan? That seemed a lot more than 1 question.

    2. Which other NH service do you intend to use or am I trying to steal a march on your future blogs here.

    Regards,

    John

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi John

      Ben’s service is excellent, and the only way to play it is level stakes in my opinion. (Yes, I will be using it).

      With regards to your other question, you are only marginally jumping the gun. Actually, between you, me and the gatepost (and the other several thousand readers of the blog!), it’s TrainerTrackStats, which has a proven track record and which is available very soon from all good online stockists. 😉

      Best Regards,
      Matt

  2. Avatar
    Michael says:

    Matt
    I was also there Friday and Saturday, and having a good day Friday following Frankie , i more or less did the same on the sat 🙁 , but i thought Frankel looked well in the paddock and if i’d been a pro then i would have got struck into it , it still did it’s job well and i thnought looked impressive getting to the front and taking it up , but then seemed to idle once it got there and knew it had the job done . I suppose the real winner out of saturday’s race would be Aiden o Brien, because i think he sent the second out on a bit of a spying mission , he will be pleased knowing he only has 31/2 lengths to find with Frankel , and i think he will have something tucked up his sleeve for next year to maybe compete or beat Frankel
    ps can recommend nice hotel in Exning, nr Newmarket , The Rosery , on church st , Tony is a top guy who owns it , proper racing man , nice food , accom, , and he gets one or two bit’s of info from time to time , trying getting that at the Premier Inn !!

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Mick

      Yes, I know exactly where the Rosery is, as it’s around the corner from Julia Feilden’s stable, where our horses are trained!

      I know of a couple of decent accommodations in and around Newmarket, and it’s always good to add another to the list.

      Matt

  3. Avatar
    dave foster says:

    i certainly dont fancy FRANKEL at the price for the derby,i had small EW on ACADEMY for derby after his impressive debut,I.M.O..took 66/1 for small money,so he wont break my bank,if not running,or not winning.hes due to run on the 26th at yar.3 00.will see then if i made the right decision

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Dave

      Yes, I fancy a couple at longer odds too. The two I’m currently mulling are Maxios, a Frenchie trained by Jonathon Pease (though there must be a doubt about him coming here for the Epsom Derby), and Exodus from the Ballydoyle team (put two disappointing runs behind him in a demolition job at Navan).

      At current odds of 33/1 on the former, with the latter yet to be introduced to the betting, I reckon they’re worth a second glance.

      Matt

  4. Avatar
    Roger says:

    Hi Matt, You say that Dream Ahead looked magnificent in his coat. According to Francome on CH 4 he was wairing a donkey jacket lol. John said that looking at the horse before the race he would do really well to win as he didnt look anywhere near as good as he did before the Middle Park.
    I remember thinking that I really should have layed it on that recomendation.
    Rog.

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Rog.

      I had two problems: 1. I didn’t see him before the Middle Park so couldn’t make a comparison, and 2. I’m no kind of paddock judge!

      But I can tell you – and I think you can see from the video – that he looked magnificent. If he looked better before the Middle Park, he must have been impeccable.

      That said, the curly one is much sharper on such matters. I wish I’d heard that, as I would probably have lost less money on him…!

      Matt

  5. Avatar
    DaveS says:

    Ah Matt- good to hear that TTS is to return- if it is as good as lasy year bring it on!

  6. Avatar
    ron.goodall says:

    to matt
    frankel is cleary very good [backed dream ahead] in a previous blog of yours lets see what the french have got plus m.stoute as we all know anything can happen over the winter months frankel could be just
    a good 2 yo and not train on its a case of watch and see regards ron.goodall
    just let you know have joined ben atkins service

  7. Avatar
    Tommy B says:

    Hi Mattie lad,
    Just got in with Bens NTF service also, Im quite excited about it as it’s a totally new approach to the game, and Im sure plenty will be waiting for the 1st “official” results come Saturdays Persian War Hurdle. Im not too sure as to how I will approach the qustion of staking it though, as there are sometimes more than a few selections, ie, likely, possibles, so, if we were to use dutching, it could seriously affect the overall profitability (if there is to be any), so…..have you any advise on a staking plan?

    On another note, I read your comments on the LS Trader, and mailed to ask them if there is anyway to follow the system on paper, but got no rely from them, so Im guessing you could only ” put yer money” to try it out. Im looking to commit quite a few bob to that service, but I just can’t see any way to try it on paper.

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Tommy

      Re NTF, I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes today, too. Re staking, my approach is to back the main selection, and have a small interest / saver bet on the outsider / busters.

      Re LS Trader, I’m not sure why they didn’t reply to you, but I know they have a weekly newsletter from which you could track progress. I’m sure you can sign up from their page.

      Best,
      Matt

  8. Avatar
    Maneman says:

    Roderic O’Connor has just franked the form of Frankel’s marvellous start to his racing career.
    This leaves no doubt that Frankel is without doubt the best 2yo colt of 2010.
    M

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Best 2 yo colt, yes. But that mantle rarely translates into best 3yo colt, so I’ll be opposing Frankel at the very short odds available in the Classics. 😉

      Matt

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