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Frankel expected to get go-ahead

Fri, 19 October 2012

Frankel is set to head a star-studded cast on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot as long as the ground is considered safe for the world's highest-rated racehorse.

The going at the Berkshire track on Friday afternoon eased from soft all round to soft on the straight course and soft, heavy in places, on the round course after three millimetres of rain.

Although a little more rain was expected before midnight, dry conditions are forecast for race day itself.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "We will look at it in the morning. It depends what happens. What I have always said is that as long as we are happy the ground is safe for Frankel, that will be our call. We are going to walk it and the intention is to run if we can."

Frankel is unbeaten in 13 starts to date and the Qipco Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter on the round course is likely to be his final racecourse appearance.

Ascot is sold out in anticipation of Frankel running and clerk of the course Chris Stickels is hoping the slight possibility of the Sir Henry Cecil-trained colt being withdrawn will not materialise.

He told At The Races: "We desperately want Frankel to run. Sadly, we didn't get a drying day. It was misty and drizzly in the morning and the three millimetres of rain this afternoon has just increased some of the moisture content on the round course to make it heavy in places.

"The rain should clear by midnight. It is drying back, but the showers are on and off until then. We are not expecting a lot more and then it should be a dry day."

Asked how he felt ahead of the race, Cecil told BBC Radio 5 Live: "The adrenaline is going. We've got him so far unbeaten and I'd like him to win at Ascot. He's getting easier, he used to be difficult, used to pull a lot. He's growing up, he's like me, a late developer.

"Because he's growing up he's easier to train, so what I ask him to do he does it. He's a better horse, he's an improving horse. It's been a great honour (to train Frankel), slightly nervewracking."