He’s the world’s top-ranked racehorse. He has won every one of his races (all 13 of them). His career earnings approach 3 million British pounds ($4.85 million) — and will get there if he wins his next race.
But that’s not all. There’s one more thing that makes Frankel an inspiration. It may, in fact, be the biggest thing.
He’s helped his trainer Henry Cecil, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2006, feel “20 years’ better.” And it’s launched Cecil to the top as a trainer, after 43 years in the business.
He says, “I am so lucky to have been allocated Frankel to train. He has been an inspiration and a challenge, which I needed so badly. Through my illness, I feel that the help from my wife Jane, and the determination to be there for Frankel has helped me so much to get through the season.”
I think anyone who has found it difficult to take care of a horse…to train a horse…to rehabilitate a horse, especially during trying personal circumstances, can identify with what Cecil is saying. As Cecil says, “being there” for a horse has rewards untold and often unrealized until long after the difficult days have passed.
Frankel, who is named after American Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, surely displayed his difficult days. Commentator Jim McGrath, who will call Frankel’s last race, tomorrow’s Champion Stakes in the UK, says “This horse came to him as a very raw, exuberant talent and he’s been able to harness this exuberance, he’s been able to control the powder keg and do himself justice. It’s quite an art — a display of a great artist at work.”
Inspiration for anyone who’s ever worked with a hot thoroughbred. This seems like a good time to point out, as I’m often known to, that there’s hot and then there’s hot. There’s difficult and then there’s difficult.
How wonderful that Frankel ended up in hands that could deal with the difficulty and let the talent flourish.
As McGrath says of Harry Cecil, ”He’s been very, very astute in the way he has brought this horse along. Very cautiously, he has allowed him to mature and he’s taught him along the way to settle in these races and do himself justice.”
Anyone with a young horse, a hot horse, a talented horse, a horse whose fire threatens to destroy his future success, can be inspired by these words.
Although Frankel is the most valuable racehorse in the world, and arguably the best racehorse in the world, his value can’t be measured in dollars, regardless of what his stud fees will be in the coming years. And that itself is inspiration in these tough economic times.