Frankel's win in the Qipco Sussex Stakes will no doubt lead him to becoming horse of the season. Victory stretched his unbeaten run to eight races and prevented Canford Cliffs writing his name into the history books alongside Mill Reef and Rock of Gibralter as the winner of six consecutive Group 1 races.
The time of of 1m 37.47s for the race was, in truth, nothing exceptional, but the way Frankel went about things certainly was. As expected, Tom Queally had to make his own running. As expected, Richard Hughes followed on Canford Cliffs. And as expected, Rajsaman and Rio de La Plata saw nothing more than the back end of their two rivals.
The steady pace Queally set for the first five furlongs at times looked pedestrian, but Frankel covers so much ground with each stride that he has other horses stretching well before their jockeys would want them to. When Queally decided it was time to go, Frankel went, and in half a dozen strides the race was over. In the duel on the Downs, Canford Cliffs simply could not land a blow.
Queally said, "He made the other horses look ordinary and they are very good horses. It's just a fantastic day. He does everything - he quickens, he stays. I can't find a flaw. Can anybody?" Not today they couldn't.
Richard Hughes was quick to recognise that his mount had felt more pressure today than in his previous races. "I was off the bridle five furlongs out, and I've never known Canford Cliffs be off the bridle so far out. I'm not making excuses because Frankel's a brilliant horse.
Trainer of Canford Cliffs, Richard Hannon, suggested that his horse had not liked the track and had struggled coming downhill, a slightly strange explanation given that Canford Cliffs had handled both perfectly well last year when winning the race. On another track things might be different, he suggested, and he hoped to have the opportunity to find out.
Frankel's connections suggested he would have one more race this season, and offered a number of possibilities including the 10 furlong Juddmonte International at York, a race sponsored by his owner Khalid Abdullah. If that is the chosen target, Canford Cliffs will have wait and see if Frankel stays in training next year. Abdullah suggested that would happen "if Henry (Cecil) wants him." You bet he does.