Wednesday 9 December 2020

Why Didn't Frankel Run in the Grand National?

If you have ever wanted to put two horses on a pedestal you could do a lot worse than suggest Red Rum & Frankel. 

Two horses from different generations, racing codes and seemingly world's apart. I doubt there has been many blog posts to detail these two iconic thoroughbred racehorses in the same sentence. 

They both changed the racing world. 

Stories of delight, tears of joy, to enthrall young and old alike.  

The recital of Red Rum winning three Grand Nationals doesn't lose its lustre. Even the youngest generation of Grand National fans look forward to learning about this truly remarkable race horse. 

I can't remember the first time I heard about Red Rum, but I can pretty much guarantee I was watching racing on the TV with my Dad. Considering I was born in 1970, I may well have had a child-like conversation with my father and a million unanswered questions that only a child can ask to bamboozle the wisest minds. 

As the black and white TV sat in the corner of the room, blasting out dialectical materialism and betting odds, a young mind was rationalising... 


Why is that person sitting on that horse?

What is a furlong?

Why do horses wear shoes?

I'm sure you've been there...

Basically, horse racing, gambling, fun and enjoyment made for our very liberal upbringing.  

For example, our pet cat, Pogle, was given his name in memory of a race horse my Dad struck a substantial win bet the year before...

One year Santa brought us a slot machine.

Gambling was definitely in our blood - it is to this day.

Considering Red Rum won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 & 1977 I had a good few years to read the form. 

To think its getting on for 50-years since we heard those dulcet tones of Sir Peter O'Sullevan saying: ''A tremendous reception, you've never heard one like it at Liverpool - Red Rum Wins the National!''

The story of Frankel was as astonishing as any heard before. Sir Henry Cecil's failing health - his talent, ambition and spirit displayed in a wonder horse who would remain unbeaten in fourteen starts. 

This son of Galileo out of a six-times-winning mare, made his debut at Newmarket racing over a mile when beating another very classy two-year-old in Nathaniel by half a length at odds of 7/4f. 

Little did we know then that Khalib Bin Abdullah's colt would progress to be, arguably, the greatest racehorse in the world. 

Fourteen victories, ten at Group one class, total prize earning £1,698 shy of £3M. A remarkable colt who would go to stud with a fee of £175,000. 

Both horses made the world a better place, the latter's offspring racing across the globe and mesmerizing racing fans of every age.

I wonder if somewhere there is a little child who loves his or her racing. They may have a colouring book with Frankel on one page and a dot-to-dot of Red Rum on the next. Below each horse is a little story about their success, the people who loved them and a rainbow high in the sky to be coloured in which ever colour they choose. 

Just like a small boy in 1973 watching the racing on TV with his Dad & Pogle the cat, listening to Sir Peter O'Sullevan shouting the runner's home...

A child, somewhere on planet Earth, is thinking, musing, if not waiting to ask a question. 

The classic mum or dad question.

Silence be disrupted.

Q) Why didn't Frankel run in the Grand National?