Chris Roots June 20, 2012
Best run ever ... Frankel, ridden by Tom Queally, wins The Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Photo: Reuters
Frankel set the benchmark, and set it high, on the first day of Royal Ascot.
He was so good Timeform have provisionally rated his Queen Anne Stakes win at 147, making Frankel the best horse since the rating agency started in 1948.
After taking taking a back-seat to Black Caviar in the lead-up to the carnival, England's unbeaten superstar boomed to an 11-length victory in the Queen Anne to take his record to 11 wins without defeat.
"I don't think you can compare different eras and different horses from different countries," Frankel's proud trainer Sir Henry Cecil said. "That is up to someone else, and I don't take too much notice of ratings.
"But you saw what he did out there. It was pretty impressive and probably as good as he can go."
The Royal Ascot crowd were applauding Frankel when he was more than 300 metres from home as he asserted his domination over Excelebration and surged clear. For a couple of strides it looked like a race around the 400-metre mark before Frankel put a gap on his greatest rival yet again.
"It was just awesome," Australian-born BBC racecaller Jim McGrath said.
"The second horse is to Frankel what Hay List is to Black Caviar. [Excelebration] would have five more group 1s if Frankel wasn't around, he is a serious horse.
"He was in a different race today."
For Australia the disappointment of Ortensia failing to find her best in the King's Stand after being backed into a 9-2 favourite was tempered by Australian jockey Zac Purton, who is now Hong Kong-based, winning the 1000m dash on Little Bridge from the Asia racing mecca.
"It is right up there with anything I have have done," Purton said. "To come here to Royal Ascot and win with my first ride in the UK is incredible.
"He is a straight-course special so I knew it would suit him and he can go further than this [trip] so I was confident he would be strong at the finish."
Little Bridge jumped on the speed and Purton said he was confident of victory a long way from home. He might have got to the front a tad early but was strong enough to hold off England's best sprinter Bated Breath, which had dropped back to the King's Stand to avoid Black Caviar in Saturday's Diamond Jubilee, by three-quarters of a length with Sole Power third.
"He still had a bit more to give if the other horse had come up to challenge me," Purton said.
As for Ortensia, prepared by Hunter Valley trainer Paul Messara, it was not to be. She travelled on the speed but could not deliver her trademark finish and ran ninth.
"She just didn't go like she can," jockey Craig Williams said. "I don't know if it was the [soft] ground but it was disappointing."