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Frankel building up to 2012 return

4 Apr 2012

Frankel will have a racecourse gallop at Newbury later this month, scene of his anticipated reappearance in the JLT Lockinge Stakes on 19 May, for which a strong entry of 20 horses has been received

Frankel’s work on the Newmarket gallops is about to be stepped up a notch as he gears up for a return to racecourse action. Image courtesy of Chris Bourchier.

"He’s done a lot of conditioning and is about to start strong work," said Sir Henry Cecil about his unbeaten wonder horse, Frankel, at a press conference on Monday.

His star colt is set to reappear in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday 19 May, the second mile race in the 2012 QIPCO British Champions Series.

Before then he will travel to the Berkshire racecourse on 20 April and do a piece of work on the track the following morning before racing starts – it’s Greenham Day at Newbury that afternoon.

"He’s the type of horse that needs to get on with things or he gets too fresh. You can’t keep working them, so he’ll be ready for an ‘easy race’ and the Greenham is about the right time to have it.

"He can have a night away and afterwards I can say ‘well done, you’re exhausted’ and give him a few days off. It should then feed me through to the Lockinge."

Entries for the JLT Lockinge closed yesterday and Frankel could face a rematch with a number of horses that he beat last season, most notably Excelebration (Aidan O’Brien), runner-up to him in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO when trained by Marco Botti, and Dubawi Gold (Richard Hannon), runner-up to him in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

Other notable entries include Excelebration’s illustrious stable companion, So You Think, and Dubawi Gold’s stable companion, Strong Suit.

The line-up could also include last season’s JLT Lockinge Stakes runner-up, Worthadd, who is now trained in Newmarket by Sir Mark Prescott, Godolphin’s rapidly improving miler, African Sky, who won the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup Night, and the Roger Charlton-trained Cityscape, who also scored on Dubai World Cup Night when running away with the Dubai Duty Free. As the latter is owned, like Frankel, by Prince Khalid Abdulla, his participation is probably unlikely, however.

After the JLT Lockinge, Frankel will be entered in all the top races over a mile to a mile-and-a-quarter.

"Everything’s open, but the final decision will come down to the Prince," Cecil said on Monday.

"We will have a good idea from his home work whether he will get the longer trip."

It is likely to mean a choice of QIPCO British Champions Series races at Royal Ascot in June – either the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile or the Prince of Wales’s Stakes over an extra two furlongs – followed by either the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park over 1 1/4 miles on 7 July or the one mile QIPCO Sussex Stakes, which Frankel won last year, at Goodwood on 1 August.

Assuming he does stay a mile-and-a-quarter, the Juddmonte International at York on 22 August followed by the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on 20 October, QIPCO British Champions Day, are likely to be the final targets of his racing career.