The Group 1 Champions Stakes at Ascot unfolded a bit different than most handicappers and observers anticipated prior to the race, but it mattered very little in the end as Frankel rolled home for his fourteenth consecutive victory.
The race started poorly for Frankel as he broke slowly from the gate and found himself a stride or two behind the pack in the opening stages. Tom Queally hustled him up to the rear of the main pack, but the poor break seemed to confuse the rider of Bullet Train, Frankel's pacemaker. Not knowing what to do, Bullet Train ceded the lead to Cirrus Des Aigles (FR) for a furlong or two until pushing the issue around the midway point.
Frankel raced in the clear near the rear of the field and made steady progress as the field rounded the final bend, tracking the French raider's every move. Inside the final quarter mile, as he has in all of his prior races, Frankel moved toward the lead under minimal urging, while the mount on Cirrus Des Aigles asked his horse for all he had. Queally finally released the parking break inside the final furlong with Frankel drawing off to win by nearly two lengths at the wire in front of an adoring crowd at Ascot on British Champions Day.
As you watch the video below, pay close attention to the hands of Frankel's jockey (in the pink cap) as he moves up alongside Cirrus Des Aigles in the final quarter mile. Frankel's jock is sitting still while his rivals hopelessly attempt to keep up. Cirrus Des Aigles proved his class by making Frankel work in the final furlong but, like all those to run against Frankel before, he couldn't stay with the champ.