Sir Henry Cecil - the trainer of Frankel - commented this morning that his colt has been easier on himself.
"He's getting easier," the Newmarket trainer told BBC Look East. "He used to be difficult and used to pull a lot.
"He's growing and, like me, he is a late developer."
We all remember him early on being hot, sometimes uncontrollable,
seemingly unable to rate or be even the slightest bit tractable. Not now. He's seasoned to become a complete racehorse. And as we all know, there is no horse (with the possible exception of Black Caviar) with as much current buzz.
It makes me wonder. If Frankel was not allowed to 'season' and become great with a long term vision, would he have been considered arguably the top horse of all time? If they hadn't had a three year racing window as a plan early, would we be talking about him the same way today?
It does make me wonder a little bit more, however. What if Frankel was an American dirt horse on the Triple Crown trail instead?
He would be that same hot horse. He'd be pushed in the spring at Gulfstream and he'd probably run a couple of huge Beyers.
It's not implausible the talk would then start.
'He can't win the Derby because he can't rate.'
'He's just a miler.'
The trainer, whomever it might be, would likely race him in all the preps anyway, because it's American racing's Super Bowl/lottery ticket, where the winner can get millions upon millions in the shed.
He'd or she'd race him in the Derby, where with 20 starters and big crowds and lots of noise, unrateable hot horses usually come last, or near it.
'I told you so' would be the refrain from the handicapping class.
Arguably it would be a whole new ball of wax. Frankel would never have been allowed to season. To grow into himself. To become a great racehorse.
With the recent retirements of Ill Have Another, Hansen, Creative Cause, Algorithims, Bodemeister, and four or ten more that I am probably forgetting, it makes one wonder: What if?
What if those horses were allowed to season with a three-year plan at two instead of chasing the Crown? Would they have become great at some point?
We'll never know, I guess. But common sense says that there has been more than one great racehorse who has never been given the chance to show what he or she can do.
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