How Frankel became an all-time legend in 2012

Top performer: Frankel ridden by Tom Queally wins the Qipco Champion.            Picture: PA Wire
Top performer: Frankel ridden by Tom Queally wins the Qipco Champion. Picture: PA Wire

HERE are three highs and three lows from the 2012 racing season:

Highs: Frankel.

Hyperbole was exhausted long ago when assessing the greatness of Sir Henry Cecil’s colt. Whether he is the best ever will always be a matter of conjecture, but it is a moot point. What this magnificent beast did for Flat racing is of far greater significance than tiresome counterfactual history lessons. A natural-born wonder.


Ballydoyle’s inmate provided a neatly constructed narrative in the early throes of summer. Victories in the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom and Irish Derby paved the way for a sporting assault at the Triple Crown in the St Leger. Camelot finished second at Doncaster, after which he disappointed in the Arc.

Richard Hughes.

Hughes’ battle with the scales will always be fraught, which makes his achievements this year even more meritorious. The sangfroid rider won the jockeys’ championship at a virtual canter, with three Group One victories adding a touch of Hollywood to proceedings. Hughes’ unquestionable highlight, though, came at Windsor in October when he rode seven winners from eight rides.

Lows: Campbell Gillies

The young Scottish rider died in a swimming pool accident just four hours after arriving in Greece for a holiday to celebrate his 22nd birthday in June. Gillies had looked destined for big things this season, having been victorious aboard Brindisi Breeze at the Cheltenham Festival in March. The pain is now less acute, but jumps racing north of the border continues to grieve.

Frankie Dettori. The Italian jockey’s six-month ban is a crushing blow to British horseracing.

Dettori has served proudly and admirably as the singular ambassador of the Flat, but is unlikely to ever be treated with quite the same reverence by the public at large after testing positive for a prohibited substance.

Kauto Star. Even though the sense of inevitability was palpable, his retirement in October still felt like a shock to the system.