Frankel in France - 2023
It is very early in 2023, but the harder you work the more reward you get in this game and so whilst everyone else is watching Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, I’ve spent my time creating the new Spreadsheets for the year. We will come to the 2024 Triumph hurdle winner at some point later this year, but for now it’s all about preparing for the Flat season and with the opening Flat meeting at Cagnes-Sur-Mer a little over 2 weeks away, the Flat is not as far down the line as it may seem. The most obvious place to start 2023 would be at the top of the stallion’s roster and with Frankel and Dubawi seemingly involved in the own private duel to be the best Turf Sires in the world, that’s where I will begin.
I could discuss the value of the form from the various 2-year-old races at the back end of the season for several hours and several blog posts, but that form will still be there when the Turf season kicks into gear and at this time of the year, it is the unraced potential that excites me most. With nothing but a pedigree page to go on, there is a lot of guesswork involved, but the cream rises to the top and the best stallion’s mate with the best mares, so the horses that I have picked out here are more than likely to be competing at the higher levels of the sport, especially considering their current connections.
I am aware that I am writing a piece about Flat racing in the first week of January, so will do my best to keep this short and to the point with that in mind. All the horses in this piece are unraced and so if you do intend to put them into a tracker in readiness for their debuts in a few months’ time, you will need to do this with France Galop because they will not appear on the At The Races site until they have an entry made.
There are currently 24 unraced 2021 Juveniles registered for Frankel with France-Galop.com. I am sure that there will be plenty more to come, but for now we have a limited number and having looked through the list, I have narrowed it down to 3 whose pedigrees appeal most. It is very difficult to try to anticipate which Juveniles will make a fast start, which will need more time, and which won’t run at all as a two-year-old. Last year I picked 5 unraced Frankel progeny, 2 of which (Zarir and Barbate) have yet to be seen, though the other 3 have all run and more importantly, won races. None of the 3 horses that I have highlighted are bred to be sprinters, so the odds are probably 4/7 that we won’t see any of them before July, but they all have the potential to be considered for the top-grade Juvenile races in the autumn at this stage.
Polyspeed is the first-foal of 2018 Prix Maurice de Gheest winner Polydream and will be trained by Christophe Ferland. The Frankel cross with an Oasis Dream mare already yielding 26 winners in Europe, so his connections will be more than hopeful at this stage. He will run in the Wertheimer silks and looks to most speedily bred of Frankel’s 2021 progeny that I have researched. Francis-Henri Graffard will train a currently unnamed daughter of Prix de Royallieu winner Candarliya. She is a half-sister to Carini, who won 3 of his 6 starts for these connections in 2022 before being sold for €600k at the Autumn Arqana sale. Graffard will also train the most interesting 2-year-old that I have found. A daughter of Tarana, she is currently unnamed but her family name is well known, and she will create a lot of interest when she appears on the track. A half-sister to Prix de L’Opera and Breeders Cup winner Tarnawa and the hugely impressive Moyglare Stakes winner Tahiyra, she will no doubt have her famous connections dreaming of what might be.
I could have copied the pieces written about Zarir and Barbate last year, as they have yet to be seen, but I thought there were a couple of other names that were worth adding for 2023 instead. Zarkala is the latest progeny of the great Zarkava to begin her racing career and the combination of Frankel and Zarkava has already produced the Listed winner Zarkamiya. She will be trained in the Aga Khan silks by Francis-Henri Graffard. The final horse is Lady’s Slipper, who cost €200k as a yearling at Arqana in 2021 and is a half-sister to 2018 Prix Marcel Bouussac winner Lily’s Candle. With such a pedigree it is perhaps a surprise to see that she didn’t run as a 2-year-old, but most of the family have run well as 3-year-olds, and it may be that she simply needed more time. She will be trained by Henri-Francois Devin in the Obaid Silks.