The metrics say it all. The fastest stallion to record 30 Northern Hemisphere Group winners in history, a statistic of 14 percent Group winners to runners and average earnings per runner of close to £90,000 - seven years on from his dazzling swansong 4-year-old season and Frankel has made the seamless transition from iconic runner to elite European stallion at Banstead Manor Stud near Newmarket.
At the time of writing, Frankel is the leading British-based stallion of 2019 with earnings of close to £2.9 million, enough to place Khalid Abdullah’s homebred in fourth on the British and Irish champion sires’ table.
Nothing is going to be able to touch Galileo in his familiar position as leader - as has been the case for about the past decade - but a winners-to-runners strike rate of 51 percent sets Frankel apart from his rivals among the top 15. And it is a similar story in terms of the European table, on which Frankel sits in fifth, buoyed by a 51 percent winners-to-runners strike rate and the winners of 22 stakes races.
A strong start to his stud career had suggested that progression to such an elite standing was in store. He was identified well ahead of time as a stallion with a big future by the algorithm that drives the TRC Global Rankings, and it remains ultra impressed by the quality of his results - so much so that he now stands at world #3, behind only Dubawi and Galileo.
When a horse such as Frankel assumes an exalted bar of equine athletic excellence, there is arguably even further to fall as the emphasis switches to a second career, especially when the horse in question receives some of the world’s best mares at a fee of £125,000.
Yet Frankel has answered many of those questions thrown at him.
A landmark moment arrived early when Cunco, his first runner, landed a good maiden at Newbury in May 2016. By the end of that season, that first crop contained six Group winners, among them Soul Stirring, who sealed a fruitful Japanese association for her sire when crowning a championship season with victory in the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies Stakes.
As it turned out, dual Champion Stakes winner Cracksman was the headline act of that first group. But, even without that multiple G1 winner, there was plenty to advertise in a crop that also contained leading older French stayer Call The Wind, Meydan stalwart Dream Castle, G1-winning Japanese miler Mozu Ascot and the G2 winners Finche and Eminent.
To date, 23 of the 86 runners out of that first crop are stakes winners (19 at Group level) - good for a figure of 27 per cent.
Two G1-winning milers, Without Parole and Veracious, kept the momentum going in a similarly productive second crop. In keeping with the idea that plenty of Frankels progress and thrive on their racing, a number have also remained potent performers well into their 4-year-old season, in particular the aforementioned Veracious, successful in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket earlier this year, G2 York Stakes winner Elarqam and Ascot Gold Cup third Master Of Reality.
It has been their performances, along with a particularly strong group of 3-year-olds (that numbered only 86 foals) that has made Frankel one of the leading European sires of 2019.
Two British Classic winners
In Anapurna and the unbeaten Logician, he has supplied two British Classic winners. Another daughter, East, was placed in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches while Cheshire Oaks heroine Mehdaayih ran a brave race in defeat when second in the G1 Nassau Stakes.
The French season, meanwhile, has featured eight-furlong Pattern successes by Juddmonte homebreds Delaware (won G3 Prix Daphnis), Fount (G3 Prix de Lieurey) and Obligate (G2 Prix de Sandringham) as well Suphala, who carried Lady Bamford’s colours to victory in the nine-furlong G3 Prix Chloe.
In fact, Frankel has been represented to good effect this year across the globe. Australia, for instance, is now home to Finche, recent winner of the G3 Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick. Simply Brilliant, formerly Senator in Britain, is a G3 winner and G1-placed in Hong Kong, while Miss Frankel has won at listed level in South Africa. Dubai was also a happy hunting ground for Godolphin’s Dream Castle, who got Frankel’s year off to a good start when sweeping the G1 Jebel Hatta, G2 Al Rashidiya Stakes and G3 Singspiel Stakes during the Dubai Meydan Carnival.
In all, there have been 17 stakes winners worldwide so far in 2019. And, as we enter October, there is naturally the promise of more to come, especially within the juvenile department (from a crop of only 80 foals).
If you take bookmaker opinion at face value, then Frankel is also now a likely candidate to supply next year’s 1000 Guineas winner in Juddmonte’s Quadrilateral, who tore apart a Newbury conditions race by nine lengths in late September. The G1 Prix Marcel Boussac on Sunday is seemingly under consideration for the filly should trainer Roger Charlton decide to run her again this season.
G1 entries are also held by Queen Daenerys, the recent winner of a Newmarket novice, while other juveniles Juan Elcano and Frankel’s Storm have already acquitted themselves well at stakes level. The Niarchos family’s Highest Ground also looked a stakes performer in the making when overcoming a bad start to score well on debut at Leicester.
There is no getting away from the fact that Frankel has received every opportunity to make his mark on the breed. A first book of 133 mares, which included 38 G1 winners and 25 dams of G1 winners, is testament to that. But in turn, short of dominating in the manner of Galileo, there is little more he can do than supply Classic winners and credible statistics.
An overall stakes-winners-to-foals-of-racing-age strike rate of 12 per cent places him alongside Dubawi (12 per cent) and ahead of every other stallion in Europe bar Galileo (13 per cent).
It barely seems that a moment has gone by since Sir Henry Cecil proclaimed Frankel as the best he’d ever seen following the horse’s farewell performance on that October day at Ascot in 2012. But the next generation is already in motion, with Frankel’s best son to date, Cracksman, recently confirmed as the busiest British new stallion of 2019 with a book of 147 mares. Other sons will undoubtedly follow.
As for Frankel, a personal best of a season should ensure some forthcoming rewards for those breeders who invested in him back in 2017.
Frankel has already enjoyed a bold showing at the Arqana August Sale, where he fired in an average of €424,167 for six sold, and with well-connected drafts at the Goffs Orby and Tattersalls October Sales to come, he is unlikely to be again far away from the headlines.