IT is occasions like last weekend’s Qipco Champions Day at Ascot that really do capture the imagination of the nation, writes Roderick Duncan.
Featuring the phenomenal Frankel in the 4.05pm highlight of the day, the meeting was one of the most hotly anticipated racedays of the year.
The nation waited with baited breath to see if the wonderhorse could end his career with a 100 per cent winning record, 14 stunning wins from 14 runs.
It was a feat that, for many, would represent confirmation that Frankel is indeed the best race horse that has ever lived.
The build-up to the big day only served to add to the excitement and anticipation, as weather conditions seemed to be conspiring against Frankel.
Many said that the four-year old English thoroughbred was facing one of the toughest tests of his career, with perhaps his stiffest competition expected to come from French gelding Cirrus Des Aigles.
Though skies brightened on the day, the track at Ascot looked to be challenging with the going stick recording soft conditions, heavy in places.
Would it prove to be too much for Frankel?
The answer on the day was absolutely not.
A very slow start out of the stalls did nothing to hamper his performance and Frankel’s irrepressible pace in the final straight saw him stride ahead of his 9/2 placed French rival with a furlong to go.
His giant strides took him past the winning post two lengths clear.
It was a classy performance that proved to the world that we have indeed found equine perfection in Frankel.
So, with Frankel now retired, the racing world is now in search of the next great horse of its generation.
Closer to home, here at Doncaster Racecourse, we’re hoping to unearth some great competitors as we look ahead to our Racing Post Trophy this weekend.
It’s shaping up to be a fantastic meeting over the course of Friday and Saturday.
We’ve got something of an Irish raid on our hands too.
Eight of the 15 entries in the Racing Post Trophy are making the journey from Ireland.
The race, which is run over one mile and won by Camelot last year, and is always a fixture that attracts a fiercely competitive line-up year after year.
The O’Brien camp will be hoping to claim victory in the race again this year, with six of the eight Irish horses entered coming from Ballydoyle Stables.
His horses will face tough competition though.
Mark Johnston-trained two-year-old Steeler, a winner in three of his five races to date, takes his place in the line-up and with Kieron Fallon aboard is sure to factor.
For more information about the Racing Post Trophy and other forthcoming racedays at Doncaster Racecourse, or to buy tickets, go to www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk or call 01302 511 918.