Royal Ascot is always that … Royal.
But never was it more Royal than 2012.
We don’t talk about the fact that Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee after 60 years on the British throne. We refer to fact that this celebration was highlighted by the King & Queen of the Turf. Frankel & Black Caviar.
The two biggest stars racing has seen in many years. The two highest rated horses in the world. Racing on the same course.
The same week. At the Royalest Ascot ever.
Frankel is ”The King.” No question. No matter what some people in Memphis might think. And even if he (just as the Graceland owner) never has performed outside his own country, the facts speak for themselves.
The King came to Ascot and The Queen Anne Stakes with 10 wins in 10 races and the highest rating in the world. He faced two of the five highest rated 3-year-olds in the world. And he destroyed them. With three furlongs left to go it was clear to all ”The King has left the building.”
Frankel bid the others a good day and went home. Passing the finnish line on the way – 11 lengths before anyone else.
In what has been described as ”possibly the greatest performance in Thoroughbred History.” The result? A rating of 147 by Time-form. 142 by Racing Post. Both are the highest ever given to any horse by each organization. And the day after the victory his trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, mentioned that Frankel lost a shoe during the last part of the race. It doesn’t get a whole lot more Royal than that.
Not even at Ascot.
Unbeaten with 21 wins in Aust-ralia. The thunder from Down Under. The magic mare Black Caviar. The one that makes the country stop when she runs. Still not completely trusted in the UK.
Was she as good as they said?
BC’s trip was covered by Oz media in a way that hasn’t been seen since when Beatles went to the U.S. in the ’60s. Filmcrews watched her get on and off the plane. Cameras followed every step. And thousands of people gathered in front of Jumbo-Trons in Australia to see the Diamond Jubliee Stakes.
Her job was to go out there and win. Odds were 1,3 to 1.
But the 1,200 metres on Ascot were tougher than expected. BC was not in her normal swing, and jockey Luke Nolen didn’t have his best day.
But the biggest remains – she won. By a nose, but she won.
Beating multiple Group 1 winners after a 16,000 km trip. With (as we learned later on) muscle tissue problems. As we see it, that’s about as Royal as it gets.