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Frankel swerving Epsom Derby for trip to Royal Ascot

| 03.05.2011

Horse racing’s big million dollar question looks set to remain unanswered as it has been hinted that Frankel’s next race will be at Royal Ascot and not the Derby.

The superstar three-year-old was hugely impressive in winning the 2000 Guineas, romping to victory over the Rowley Mile to beat Dubawi Gold by six lengths.

Frankel’s natural speed was particularly apparent in the opening Classic of the season as he blitzed into an unassailable early lead from the stalls and had the remainder of the field strung out by the half-way point.

The Derby at Epsom is one of the options open to Frankel next and the step up to 1m4f is certainly the test that most horse racing followers will want him to attempt.

But connections are edging towards the opinion that a trip to Epsom will be a step too far for a horse that has proved hard to settle and is bred for speed.

Therefore, rather than push Frankel’s stamina to the maximum, trainer Henry Cecil seems likely to disappoint fans by instead running the horse in the St James’ Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Cecil told the Daily Mail: “I think the Derby would not be doing the right thing. I’d want to give him a race before Epsom over a bit further but I can’t do that.

“Frankel is very well, but we will take it step by step. You have to think of the horse and we don’t want to be experimenting with him.”

Frankel is 1/3 in the Royal Ascot odds to win the St James’ Palace Stakes and the horse should have little trouble adding another Group One victory to his collection over 1m.

From there what the future holds for Frankel is a bit of a mystery, but it is 2/1 that he wins any race at the Breeders Cup meeting later this season, while it is 4/1 that connections avoid the option of sending him to stud and instead decide to race him as a four-year-old.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.