I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some great days at the races in my life but none has been more memorable than watching the mighty Frankel in his pomp. The magnificent bay colt who ran in the colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah and was trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil, was unbeaten in 14 races. On a perfect spring day at Newmarket, in April 2011, he routed the opposition in the 2,000 Guineas and was so far in front by halfway that nervous onlookers in the stands worried that he might have bolted and that his jockey had lost all control. Frankel was even more imperious at Royal Ascot the following summer, winning the Queen Anne Stakes by an unprecedented 11 lengths and was acclaimed by historians and experts as the greatest thoroughbred flat-racing has ever seen. At the end of that season, Frankel was retired to his owner’s stud farm in Newmarket (where he was born) and has made a sensational start to his stallion career. So far 16 of his foals have gone on to become group winners, including Cracksman, who evoked memories of his father when triumphing by seven lengths in this October’s Champion Stakes at Ascot.
The average cost of the Frankel yearlings that were sold at auction this year was £500,000 and one yearling filly went for 2.5m guineas. From next year, Frankel’s fee for “covering” a mare, as it’s euphemistically described, will go up to £175,000 a time. It’s a select, high-stakes business. But, on December 4 and 5, there will be a unique opportunity for bidders old and new to buy into Frankel’s bloodlines. Twelve mares in foal to the famous stallion will be on offer at Tattersalls’ December Breeding Stock Sale at their Park Paddocks auction house in Newmarket. Two of them will go under the hammer on the Monday and 10 more the next day when other valuable mares by other stallions will also be up for sale. Successful purchasers will not only keep the foals, either to race themselves or to re-sell as yearlings next year, they will also retain the mares and be able to breed from them again in the future.
It’s sure to be a tremendously exciting occasion and the bidding will be fierce. One mare in foal to Frankel sold for 4m guineas in 2013 so you will need to bring some heavy ammunition to the table. But it’s a fantastic chance to acquire a share of racing and breeding’s hottest property – whether to speculate with commercially or just to enjoy running in your own colours. And, as they say in poker, if you're not in… you can't win.