Queen Kindly upstages Fair Eva in clash of Frankel’s daughters at York
Horse racing Queen Kindly upstages Fair Eva in clash of Frankel’s daughters at York Cheveley Park Stakes is the next stop for gutsy winner
First and third joint-favourites for next year’s Guineas
Another page was added to the Frankel legend here on Thursday, a story that already includes an unbeaten 14-race career and now, after three busy seasons in the covering sheds, a remarkable first racing season as a sire. As expected, the Lowther Stakes was won by one of the great champion’s daughters but, in an unexpected twist, it was Queen Kindly and not Fair Eva, the 4-11 favourite, who gave Frankel his first Group Two victory as a sire.
Fair Eva’s defeat was a big setback for punters, including those who had taken short prices about her in next year’s 1,000 Guineas after a devastating success in a Group Three at Ascot last month. She was a little warm in the paddock beforehand, however, and it was clear with a quarter of a mile to run that she was struggling to pick up the leaders. She could only stay on at one pace, to finish third behind Queen Kindly and Roly Poly, and Richard Fahey’s filly, who quickened well to lead a furlong from home, was certainly a worthy winner on the day.
Queen Kindly and Fair Eva are now the joint-favourites for next year’s Newmarket Classic with several bookmakers, though at the best prices available, Fair Eva remains the narrow market leader on 10-1 with Queen Kindly available at 12-1. The odds against Frankel siring a Classic winner in his first crop, meanwhile, are shortening all the time.
“It’s great for racing,” Jamie Spencer, the winning jockey on Queen Kindly, said afterwards of Frankel. “He’s produced these horses so early, before the ones that are out of more stamina-laden mares later on. It’s caught everyone’s imagination and, as we’ve seen at the sales at Saratoga and Deauville, it’s caught the buyers’ eyes as well. I’m just glad to get on one of them.
“When she was foaled, she was tiny. Every time you ride her, she’s getting bulkier and putting on weight all the time. The good ones can do that. They can take the work and get stronger.”
It is four years since Frankel’s brilliant success in the International Stakes at this meeting but his fame spread well beyond the turf and, as Spencer knows, he has not been forgotten. “Everyone’s heard of Frankel,” he said. “Have you ridden Frankel and have you won the Grand National, they’re probably the two most asked questions from people who don’t know about horse racing. He was a joy to watch and it’s good that his legacy is living on.
“If you’d sent a moderate stallion all the mares that he got, a certain lot of good horses would come anyway but he’s definitely adding to it all right. [Frankel’s owner] Khalid Abdullah’s long plan made over generations now is coming to the fore and he’s possibly the best stallion we’ve had for a long time. It’s great for racing and long may it continue.”
“It was easy on the eye to watch,” Fahey said. “The favourite looked nailed on but favourites are there to be beat and I was delighted to be the one to beat her.
“From day one she’s been very easy to train, a strong filly with a great mind and loads of speed. I didn’t want to be the first one to run one [of the Frankel juveniles] so I waited until someone else had to get her out, but she could have run in the Brocklesby [in March]. She’s been a natural from day one.
“To be fair to this filly, she hasn’t taken after him [physically] at all, the mother [Lady Of The Desert] was a very good mare and she’s more mother than father.
“Frankel had a lot of speed and I think we all agree he could have won over six furlongs, so she [Queen Kindly] has got the best of both worlds. Her mother was just beaten in the [five-furlong] Abbaye and she won this race as well. She was a very good filly and Frankel is covering good girlfriends.”
The Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on 24 September is likely to be next for the winner while Roger Charlton, the trainer of Fair Eva, offered no excuses for her defeat and will hope that an explanation emerges over the next few days.
“Pat [Smullen, her jockey] said that he felt she just ran a bit flat and he never really felt he was going that well at any stage,” Charlton said.
“She was a little bit warm [before the race] but the answer is, I don’t know. It was a quick time and they were five lengths clear of the rest but I don’t have an answer, I wish I could give you one.”