Frankel, the horse proclaimed the greatest ever, hung up his racing hooves on Saturday after an emotional final day out at Ascot on Saturday. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and with even the Queen turned up to bid him adieu. It’s likely to be one of those days when you remembe what you were doing the exact moment he crossed the line for the 14th and final time galloping into racing folklore. Frankel’s swansong was more than just a retirement to stuff as his presence on circuits neared celebrity status like no other horse has done for some time.
The Sir Henry Cecil trained horse truly brought the sport back into the forefront of this country’s sporting mindset and captured the public’s imagination on days other than the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National and the Derby. He was a horse that was as much as short as 1/10 with the bookies on certain days and the interest Frankel generated hasn’t been lost on them.
“Any sport will mourn the loss of a superstar. They attract new audiences, and punters, and move racing from the periphery to the front pages. He was an exceptional racehorse, and the best we might ever see,” Kate Miller, PR director at William Hill, told CalvinAyre.com.
Frankel, quite understandably, stole all the headlines although Saturday also spelt the end of the BBC’s association with the sport of kings that has lasted for some 64 years with Channel 4 now taking over the nation’s big horse races. For the gambling industry it throws up a plethora of opportunities with adverts now available during some of the biggest horse races to be covered on live TV such as the Grand National and the Derby – two that were originally only available on the “beeb”. Miller, William Hill’s racing guru, is already clear as to the opportunities the deal represents.
“The Channel 4 team have covered some of the gems of racing for many years now and include a BAFTA win for their coverage of the Cheltenham Festival back in 2010. I’ve little doubt that team will do a tremendous job, and a single, fixed broadcaster adds consistency for viewers,” Miller told CalvinAyre.com. “In commercial terms we have secured the bulk of the advertising slots during the coverage next year – which now include the Grand National, Derby, and Royal Ascot, so it will assist our business to have an on-screen presence during the sport’s best events.”
As for Frankel he’s retired to become the most sought-after insemination device on the planet with estimates that he’ll snare around 150-200 mares every year whilst making his owner £100million in the process. Much like every sport there was a clamour to see Frankel carry on and see how long the unbeaten run stretches. He has taken on the best the sport has to offer and beaten them in style every time and retiring unbeaten is one of sport’s rarest feats.
Sport Personality of the Year, then? Unfortunately for Frankel, and racing as a whole, animals aren’t eligible for the award. Otherwise Miller, and the rest of the team at William Hill, “think he’d make the shortlist” and in an Olympic year, if it were possible it would be his biggest win to date.