Mature Frankel can retain record in the Lockinge at Newbury
Punters should already be in joyous mood simply because Frankel is back for another season and it is 2/7 that he sparks even wilder celebrations by retaining his unbeaten record in the Lockinge Stakes.
Frankel is still to lose in nine starts and has already racked up five career Group One victories, with four of these coming over 1m as a three-year-old last year.
This would have been enough for many owners and so Khalid Abdullah deserves the utmost respect for turning down the obviously large sums available if sending the horse to stud.
Instead, the chance to own the greatest Flat horse ever is a distinct possibility has taken precedence and Frankel now heads to Newbury to begin his four-year-old campaign.
Frankel is liable to step up in distance later this season, but will remain over 1m for the Lockinge Stakes and his chief rival appears to be regular foe Excelebration, a horse that he has beaten already twice before.
According to official ratings, Excelebration has 10lb to find with Frankel and although this is extremely unlikely, the fact the horse has moved yards from Marco Botti to Aidan O’Brien may prove significant.
O’Brien is also set to run Windsor Palace, while So You Think still holds an entry, but after a tough race in Dubai the consensus is that he will be given an extra few weeks to recover.
Tactics will certainly come into play and there is a strong possibility that Windsor Palace will take on pace-making duties in order to attempt to run the steam out of the favourite.
However, with Frankel having matured over the winter and seemingly fully recovered from a leg injury based on his performance on the Newmarket gallops, he should settle better than in the past.