George Baker Blog - Frankel

Monday May 2nd.....


May playing the same "dry" game as April. The occasional cloud drifts over Whitsbury, but no sign of any rain from above.......

To be at Newmarket on Saturday was a privilege. There is a spot just shy of the furlong pole from where I have watched countless Guineas finishes unfold. The other side of the track from the stands, far from the madding crowd. Rather like the third last for The Champion Chase, this has become an annual pilgrimage. Candida, Jim and Emily St Johnston and Brough Scott.....

As the horses cantered past on the way to the start, Frankel looked a "bull" of a horse. Tom Queally sitting motionless, conserving the power beneath.....

I have never seen a 2000 Guineas won after 2 furlongs. Frankel 10 lengths clear. Bowling along as if his stall had opened seconds ahead of the others. The big screen away to our left confirming what our eyes were picking up in the distance. As the horses passed the four furlong marker (halfway...), I leant against the white rails and found myself applauding. Applauding the winner. Applauding an astonishing performance. The Guineas won. But still half a mile to go.....

As the speck in the distance (a distance ahead of some other, slower specks behind...) loomed closer, the head shaking began. I turned to Brough who, putting his binoculars down for a second, shrugged his shoulders at the sheer marvel of what we were witnessing. Up beside us now, and sauntering to the line, Frankel receiving a couple of cracks from the Queally whip, the man on top glancing sideways at the big screen for a split second, almost visibly shaking his head at the ease of it all....

And then it was over. Shocked faces all around. The immediate search for superlatives. Comparisons. Was this the greatest Guineas performance of all time ?? I guess only time will tell....

Page 3 of The Racing Post showing our private viewing area. Jim and Emily behind the "British Champions Series" sign. Brough peering over his binoculars. C and I out of shot to the right, leaning over the rail. The photograph foreshortening Frankel's lead. Tom about to raise his whip. A picture that does not quite do justice to Frankel's superiority. A picture that shows you why this is a pretty good spot to watch a little bit of racing history.....

As the dust settled, I scuttled away to the betting shop below the stands. To watch the 4.00 from Goodwood. To watch Humidor and Matt career down that straight in near record time. Not quite a Frankel moment. But pretty bloody good all the same......

To Salisbury yesterday. After an excellent lunch in the garden of my Uncle and Aunt's house in the local village of Great Durnford. Barbecued lamb. 10 minutes from the track. The beautifully named George Baker "chinned" on the line. Beaten a short head. Having traded, apparently, at 1.04 on Betfair. Ouch !! But my namesake again showing that there is a little race in him. A win that, if it ever happens, I plan to celebrate in some style.....

From the Winners Enclosure to the car and onto London. QPR's end-of-season Awards dinner. At the Hilton Metropole off the Edgeware Road. Noisier as the evening progressed. And rightly so. 15 years away from Premiership football has been too long. The threat of a points deduction still hanging heavy. But the vibes mildly positive on this particular issue.....

Our excellent goalkeeper Paddy Kenny named Player of the Year. Which, if the chinese whispers are to be believed, prompted the mercurial but brilliant Adel Taraabt to flounce off into the night. A brilliant player. But as with so many, where there is genius, there are so often flaws as well.....

Just like Frankel...??

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