Frankel fans to flock to Champions Day

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  • All eyes will be on Ascot racecourse tomorrow (20 October), when the best racehorse in the world bids to bow out unbeaten.

    Frankel, trained by Sir Henry Cecil, will aim to win his 14th consecutive race, in front of a sell-out crowd of 32,000 at QIPCO British Champions Day.

    The four-year-old son of Galileo is owned by his breeder Khalid Abdullah and this is expected to be Frankel’s final run before retiring to stud.

    And if he wins, he could become officially the greatest racehorse of all time in the British Horseracing Authority ratings system.

    The tickets sold out nearly a month in advance – with an extra 1,500 tickets being released on 24 September – and top figures from the worlds of racing and equestrianism will be there, with The Queen the guest of honour.

    Frankel will be contesting the £1.3million QIPCO Champion Stakes – Europe’s most valuable mile and a quarter race.

    He is due to meet Cirrus Des Aigles, who won the race a year ago, and Nathaniel, who has run Frankel closer than any other horse, being beaten by just half a length when the pair made their debut.

    And as part of the celebrations, members of medal-winning British Olympic and Paralympic teams – including Peter Charles, Ben Maher, Nick Skelton, Natasha Baker, Sophie Wells, Deb Criddle, Sophie Christiansen, Carl Hester, Tina Cook, William Fox-Pitt, Zara Phillips and Nicola Wilson – will be parading at Ascot.

    “Going there as a team should be really exciting,” Tina told H&H. “I’ve never seen Frankel in the flesh before and he’s a legend. Like so many I’ve seen him on TV, but to see him perform in real life will be fantastic.”

    Carl added: “I’m delighted to have been invited. If it is Frankel’s last run before he retires to stud, it’ll be even more exciting.”

    And dual gold medal-winning Paralympic rider Natasha told H&H: “I’m extremely excited to be going to Ascot – and it’s so nice to see that people are so inspired by London 2012.

    “I’ve been so busy since it will be lovely to celebrate the champions of racing. I haven’t been to the races for a few years and I’ve never seen Frankel. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

    There will also be British Equestrian Federation demonstrations and six Olympic fences on display, turning the Old Paddock Lawns into a “replica mini-Greenwich”.

    Watch British Champions Day on BBC1 from 1.30pm-4.30pm

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (18 October 2012)

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