F.B.A. Review of 2011

 

2011 will remain in most people’s memory as the year that Frankel came to dominate British racing in a way that we have not seen since the days of Brigadier Gerard, and to crown an amazing resurgence in the fortunes of Sir Henry Cecil. Five victories came at Group 1 level including a facile win in the 2000 Guineas for the unbeaten son of Galileo.

Frankel’s impact on racing is perhaps even more remarkable for being only two years after we saw what we thought was a once in a generation performer in Sea The Stars, a truly great racehorse who won six Group 1 races in 2009 including an unprecedented Guineas-Derby-Arc treble. Sea The Stars did however, also leave his mark on 2011 with his first crop of foals being sold at auction and bringing record prices.

Some of the other big race winners were left slightly in Frankel’s shadow, not least the Derby winner Pour Moi whose Epsom victory may be best remembered for his young French jockey’s out of the saddle celebrations before the horse had even crossed the finishing line. Pour Moi was sadly not seen out after Epsom and did not have the opportunity to embellish his reputation.

And word has it that there may be yet another superstar waiting in the wings, namely Camelot trained by Aidan O’Brien who was an easy winner of the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at the end of the year.

2011 saw Hayley Turner ride her first Group 1 winner on the David Simcock trained sprinter Dream Ahead in the July Cup. This made her the first-ever woman to ride a Group 1 winner outright in Britain and she quickly followed this up with a second in the Nunthorpe Stakes on the Michael Bell trained Margot Did.

Over the jumps there was a new Gold Cup winner crowned, the six year old Long Run beat former champions Kauto Star and Denman. Kauto Star was however back to his brilliant best at the start of the 2011/12 season with an emphatic victory in the Betfair Chase at Haydock before going on to win his record breaking fifth King George at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, days before his twelfth birthday. With Denman now enjoying retirement it will be a match to savour between Long Run and Kauto Star come Cheltenham in March. Big Buck’s will also be vying for his fourth consecutive World Hurdle.

Racing sadly said goodbye to two legends of the sport in the space of 24 hours in 2011, both Michael Jarvis and Ginger McCain lost their battles with long term illness. Quite different personalities but nonetheless both major contributors to the sport and will be sorely missed.

Yet again bloodstock sales confounded logic. Despite already poor prize money falling even further, the yearling sales were remarkably strong, and in particular Tattersalls October Yearlings Book 1 and 2.

 

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