Frankel: From Wonder Horse to Wonder Sire

Posted on 14th March 2022

Frankel in his pomp
photo via https://twitter.com/Racing_Reflex/status/1083737967695458305/photo/1

 

Want to cause a stirring debate among racing fans? Ask them to name the greatest racehorse of all time. The question is sure to cause an argument, not least because the answer is always going to be subjective. They do try to measure these things with racehorse ratings, of course, but those metrics divide opinion.

And yet, it is widely accepted that Frankel is among the greatest racehorses of all time. He was, in fact, officially rated the best in history when rankings were recalibrated back in 2013. But that’s a moot point for our purposes here. Whatever Frankel achieved in the past, it might be eclipsed by what he is doing in stud. In short, Frankel is on course to be the greatest sire in racing history.

The possibility of that is currently being trumpeted by Juddmonte Farms, the international breeding operation that owns Frankel and his stud rights. Frankel, who ran his last race in October 2012, covered his first mare in the spring of 2013, meaning his first foals started racing in the middle of the 2010s.

Champion Sire comes at a cost

As you can imagine, there has been quite the demand for the offspring of a horse who went unbeaten throughout a legendary career. And, Juddmonte has been able to point to the strong chances of success when your horse has been sired by Frankel. His progeny have now won 20 Group 1 races. And in 2021, Frankel was the first British-based horse in over 30 years to be crowned Champion Sire.

While Frankel is based in Cheveley, Cambridgeshire (not far from where he was foaled), the market for his genes is clearly an international one. His offspring are just as likely to be named among Australian horse racing tips as they are to appear here in the UK, or in other places like Dubai and the United States.

Of course, his ‘services’ don’t come cheap. The cost in 2022 is £200K. But racing is a results-based business, and Juddmonte can point to growing evidence that the gamble is worth it. “The fastest sire to 50 Group winners” is the tagline on the Juddmonte Farm website, and the list of big names Frankel has produced seems endless.

Frankel at his current home on Juddmonte Farms, Newmarket
photo via https://twitter.com/bmracingclub/status/1007632175053893632/photo/1

 

Endless list of successes for Frankel’s offspring

Among them is Adayar, winner of the 2021 Epsom Derby, and Hurricane Lane winner of the Grand Prix de Paris and Irish Derby. Down Under, there are names like Mirage Dance, winner of the big Group 1 race, The Metropolitan. In Japan, we can find sons of Frankel like Mozu Ascot, winner of the Yasuda Kinen. In Canada, Wild Beauty won the Natalma Stakes. In Germany, we saw Alpinista win the Grosser Preis von Berlin. You get the picture – all over the world, Frankel’s progeny has been winning the biggest prizes in racing.

Frankel made just under £3 million in his racing career, which is, of course, a staggering amount. But he has already sired well over 100 foals, and you can appreciate just how much that is worth to Juddmonte Farms at £200K stud fees. It is unlikely that any of his progeny will eclipse his individual success – Frankel was a once-in-several-lifetimes horse. But he is clearly a wonder sire, whose progeny will be in the hunt for success in elite racing events all over the world.

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