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Frankel retains unbeaten record in dramatic fashion at Ascot

By Alysen Miller, CNN
October 21, 2012 -- Updated 0103 GMT (0903 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • British thoroughbred wins Champion Stakes at Ascot to maintain unbeaten record
  • Horse trained by Henry Cecil now expected to be retired after 14 wins from 14 starts
  • "He's been a champion at two, three and four. He's the master of his profession," his racing manager said
  • Frankel will now be retired to stud where he has been valued at £100 million

Ascot, England (CNN) -- It wasn't his flashiest performance, but Frankel made sure his final race was also his most dramatic as he overhauled French rival Cirrus des Aigles to maintain his unbeaten record and cap a remarkable three-year career at the summit of his sport.

The English thoroughbred has looked increasingly settled on his last few appearances at the track. However, on this occasion he was almost too relaxed.

Caught napping at the start, Frankel appeared to stumble out of the blocks, losing lengths on Cirrus des Aigles and Natheniel, who took up the early lead in the rain-softened ground.

Read: Tall, dark and handsome muse...is a horse

Frankel's big farewell
Fabulous Frankel wins again

It meant that Frankel become detached from his brother and pacemaker Bullet Train, who was meanwhile being held up by jockey Ian Mongan in order to bring his more talented brother back into the race.

The early blunder left jockey Tom Queally with a dilemma -- either kick on to catch up with the leaders, or settle Frankel in towards the back of the field and hope his sheer class would prevail.

Infographic: What makes Frankel so special?

Queally picked the latter course of action, and his faith in the great colt was rewarded when, taking a wide line off the final bend, he asked Frankel for an extra gear.

The red-hot favorite powered through the field to close the gap on Cirrus des Aigles, officially the second-best horse in the world, with Nathaniel already beaten. Frankel then blazed towards the winning post with a length and three-quarters to spare.

Queally admitted that Frankel had found the softer going a challenge, saying he had lacked his customary bounce on the canter down to the start. But when asked to deliver, "the 4x4 kicked in," the jockey said.

Read: World beating wonder horse takes final bow at Ascot

"It just shows what kind of an animal we're dealing with," added Queally, who described Frankel as the "best ever."

As had been widely expected, Frankel's owner, Khalid Abdullah confirmed that the wonder horse had run his last race.

"He's given so much pleasure to so many people," his racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, told journalists.

"He's been a champion at two, three and four. He's the master of his profession," Grimthorpe added.

Frankel will now be retired to stud, where he has been conservatively valued at £100 million ($160 million) as a stallion.

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