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QUEEN ANNE STAKES REPLAY (Courtesy of attheraces.com)

By Mike Curry, America’s Best Racing

Undefeated superstar Frankel kept his unblemished record intact with a dominant 11-length romp in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-G1) on Tuesday to kick of the 2012 Royal Ascot meeting.

The reigning European Horse of the Year overwhelmed the competition, surging well clear from runner-up Excelebration when given his cue from jockey Tom Queally, to record his 11th win in as many starts for trainer Sir Henry Cecil and owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms. 

“He is a great horse and you've seen him for yourself, so everybody can form their own opinion,” Cecil told England's Press Association. "He did exactly what I thought but he's still improving; Tom said he's still improving."

The four-year-old Galileo (Ire) colt won the St. James’s Palace Stakes (Eng-G1) on opening day at Royal Ascot in 2011 in a performance that produced his smallest margin of victory (three-quarters of a length) since his career debut in April 2010. Frankel had no such close call in the Queen Anne, blowing away ten challengers for a double-digit margin of victory. He completed one mile in 1:37.85 on ground rated as good to soft.

After winning each of his five starts at three, Frankel showed he was back at top form in his 2012 debut when winning the Lockinge Stakes (Eng-G1) by five lengths on May 19 at Newbury. As good as he was at three, Frankel appears to be much improved at four, a frightening reality for his potential challengers this season in the aftermath of Tuesday's Queen Anne runaway.

"It looks like he's improving. He settled, he travelled, he got everything else off the bridle when I was still sitting there—he's amazing,” Queally said. "That's his best performance. He ticked all the boxes, he did everything right. From my point of view, he's been flawless in the past but I couldn't have asked for anything more."

The Queen Anne was Frankel’s sixth straight Group 1 win and seventh top-level victory overall.

Frankel, arguably the best racehorse in training on the planet, was bred in Great Britain out of Group 3-placed stakes winner Kind, by Danehill. Kind, a half sister to Group 1 winner Powerscourt, has produced three stakes winners, including Group 3 winner Bullet Train.

“He looks as if he'll stay a mile and a quarter so we'll leave our options open,” Cecil said. “He's in the Eclipse [Stakes (Eng-G1)], he's in the Sussex [Stakes (Eng-G1)], he's in the Juddmonte [International Stakes (Eng-G1)] and the two races at the end of the year. He'll tell me what to do next, I don't tell him.

"It's very unlikely he'll go to the Breeders' Cup."

Hong Kong Invader takes King’s Stand

Video Courtesy of attheraces.com

Ko Kam Piu’s Little Bridge shipped in from Hong Kong for the King’s Stand Stakes (Eng-G1) on Tuesday and defeated 21 challengers to secure his first career Group 1 win.

The Faltaat gelding seized command near the final furlong and comfortably held off a late bid from Temple Stakes (Eng-G2) winner Bated Breath to win by three-quarters of a length under Zac Purton.

"He travelled like the winner the whole way and I was always confident,” Purton told England’s Press Association. "When I came up the rise, I knew I had a lot of horse left and I knew it would take a good one to beat me.

"[Trainer] Danny [Shum] and I both came here pretty confident in the horse, so we expected something anyway.”

Little Bridge covered five furlongs in :59.69 to improve to ten wins from 20 starts. Bated Breath finished a length clear of Group 1 winner Sole Power for second.

Little Bridge ran his winning streak to three in the King’s Stand. He entered off a victory in the Hong Kong Sprint Cup on April 29 at Sha Tin. Bred in New Zealand by Llanhennock Trust, Little Bridge is out of the Gold Brose mare Golden Rose.

Most Improved Raises Bar in St. James’s Palace

Video Courtesy of attheraces.com

After a troubled, unplaced finish in the Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-G1) (French Derby) on June 3 at Chantilly in his season debut, Most Improved had every opportunity to show his ability in the St. James’s Palace Stakes (Eng-G1) on Tuesday at Royal Ascot and rose to the occasion.

Most Improved took control in the one-mile race with about two furlongs remaining under Kieren Fallon. Cutting back in distance from the 2,100-meter (10.44-furlong) French Derby, the Lawman colt surged clear and battled gamely to turn aside a late charge from runner-up Hermival.

Most Improved finished 14th in the French Derby when he lacked running room and never had a chance to show his talent. For owner Iraj Parvizi and trainer Brian Meehan, the St. James’s Palace was a confirmation of their faith in Most Improved.

“He ran in the French Derby where nothing went right and Kieren was pretty upset after the race when he got off,” Meehan told England’s Press Association.  “We thought about the Tercentenary [Stakes], but the owner rang me and said, ‘Why don't we stick to the original plan and stay at a mile, he's in the race?’ And it made sense.”

After winning one of three starts at two with a third-place finish in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-G1), Most Improved struck for his first stakes win at an opportune time with the Royal Ascot victory.

“He was doing really good work [in the spring], he matured physically and today showed we were right,” Meehan said of the colt out of the Linamix mare Tonnara. “He's a lovely, big horse with lots of scope. He's just been a little bit unlucky this spring.

“He had a little bit of bone pain going through to his joints. It's pretty minor and we got good advice on how to manage it, but he's fine now.”

Fine, indeed.

Dawn Approach Remains Unbeaten in Coventry

Video Courtesy of attheraces.com


Trainer Jim Bolger's talented two-year-old Dawn Approach posted his fourth win in as many starts with a three-quarter-length win in the Coventry Stakes (Eng-G1) on Tuesday at Royal Ascot. Bolger bred the New Approach colt and trains him for his wife, Jackie, and J. P. Spain.

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