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Armchair Jockeys return with Coral-Eclipse preview and more

3 Jul 2012

A comprehensive Coral-Eclipse preview ahead of Saturday's big QIPCO British Champions Series race is followed by a wonderful feature on Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket, where Frankel was born.

Saeed bin Suroor. Image courtesy of

Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of leading Coral-Eclipse Stakes hope, Farhh, is one of five interviewees in a comprehensive Coral-Eclipse preview by the Armchair Jockeys for BCS TV.

Roger Charlton (Cityscape), Roger Varian (Sri Putra) and Andrew Balding and Jimmy Fortune, trainer and jockey of leading three-year-old Bonfire, are also interviewed, while expert pundits Rishi Persad, Lydia Hislop and Steve Mellish assess the entries for Saturday’s big Sandown Park feature and look at the history of this great race.

Following an update on the state of play in the 2012 QIPCO British Champions Series, which is now halfway towards its glittering finale on QIPCO British Champions Day, the programme culminates with a fascinating feature on Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket, Prince Khalid Abdulla’s breeding HQ, where the world’s greatest racehorse, Frankel, was born and where his dam, Kind, has developed a special bond with new broodmare, Midday.

To view the programme, CLICK HERE.


Saeed bin Suroor on Farhh:

Of his run in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes: "The way he finished the race, he showed a good turn of foot, plenty of speed. I thought in the last 100 yards: he is coming to win, but he was unlucky."

Of his tendency to rear in the stall and start slowly: "I think we have in our mind for the future, [in order] to get a good position early in the race, [to] put him last in the stalls."

Roger Charlton on Cityscape:

Describes his Dubai Duty Free win as "a stunning performance… he found the turbo-booster that produced a course record and had them off the bridle – destroyed them really."

That was "his first time at nine furlongs… [so] ten furlongs would be worth a try".

Roger Varian on Sri Putra:

Of his run in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes: "He almost ran, on distances anyway, a better race that when he ran last year… once again, at the very highest level, he turned up and ran a very solid race."

"He seems to relish when there is a very strong pace on a proper galloping track… on a proper sound surface."

Jimmy Fortune on Bonfire:

Of his run in the Investec Derby: "I knew from a long way out that we weren’t going to run a race."

"The trouble is, if they don’t handle Epsom, they normally have a harder race than they would do if they did handle it and it took a hell of a lot out of him. He lost a lot of weight but he seems to be back in good form now."

Andrew Balding on Bonfire:

On the current crop of three-year-olds: "We’re still trying to work out where everyone stands and I think it’s quite an open year, Camelot aside."

He admitted: "It would have been nice to see the Dante form work out a bit better."


Simon Mockridge, stud manager at Prince Khalid Abdulla’s Banstead Manor Farm stud in Newmarket, recalls Frankel as a foal: "He was born here…he was a tremendously well balanced individual and, as a foal from day one, he was almost like a foal that was a week old. He took everything in his stride, he was very easy to deal with. He seemed to know all about life before he did, really."

Of Frankel’s prospects as a stallion: "He’s got a marvellous race record, he’s got a marvellous pedigree and it’s only right that he’ll probably get some of the most choice mares around."

Of Prince Khalid’s operation: "It’s a bit like raising a family… you know their little traits, the problems that each individual family brings to you and also their strengths."

The feature also has content on:

Dansili, sire of Fallen For You, Bated Breath & Thomas Chippendale

Oasis Dream, 2003 European Champion Sprinter & sire of Midday

Kind, dam of Frankel, Noble Mission & Bullet Train, in foal to Galileo (i.e. like Noble Mission would be another full-brother to Frankel)

Midday, six-times Group One winner for Sir Henry Cecil and now in foal to Galileo