Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Writing this in great haste as I have just got off the race train and I have a dinner.

At 1.55pm, Frankel walked into the pre-parade ring. I had a good spot, right on the rail. That was worth it, right there. The five hundred miles were worth it. He lifted his noble head, and he had, as my mother always says about the great ones, the look of eagles.

He was tight, fit, compact; nothing on him wasted. It was all class and muscle and power.

He is a more delicate horse in life than he is on the television, and he has much more character. He is a light, gracious, champion, rather than the great, tearing, bulldozer that he looks on the screen.

The observers took in a collective breath. 'Oh,' they said. 'There he is.' He nodded his brilliant head at them, as if to say, yes, here I am.

I lost The Older Brother and his Beloved and ended up watching with a tremendous bunch of Aussies who had come all the way from Melbourne to see Black Caviar. 'Lovely country you've got here,' they said, with gusto.

'Yes,' I said. 'Sorry about the weather.'

And then they were off, and my race glasses shook, and the whole place fell silent.

About three out, there was the beginning of something. It was a murmur, a shift, a shiver. Then it was a low shout, a rumble. And then, then, as the most brilliant of horses shook himself up and let out his full, absurd, beautiful, impossible, unanswerable power, it rose to an almighty roar, a most unBritish rebel yell, as ladies in silk frocks and gentlemen in black toppers forgot their manners and whooped and hollered and paid shouting homage to something that they all knew they would never see again.

He won by eleven lengths, on the bridle.

I burst into tears of joy, in front of all the strange Australians.

There is so much more to write, but I must eat something or I shall fall over.

But really, all I have to say is that it was the best thing I ever saw.

I've been lucky enough to see a few things in my life. But for beauty, grace, glory, and sheer, raging talent, this was the best. It was the most perfect, the most beautiful, the most complete. It was beyond everything I hoped for. It was the champion of champions, the king of kings, in his pomp, laughing at the rest.

Now, for the rest of my life, I shall be able to say: I was there when Frankel destroyed them in the Queen Anne. I shall be able to say, when I am ancient and crabbed and cranky and bent: I was there.


  1. And thanks to you and the glory of the web, I too can say that I was there..You made me feel every moment. Am crying fat tears of joy. Thank you for these words, this gift you have of translating emotion to page. Quite wonderful.

  2. That was some race. Frankel seems really to be growing into himself as a race horse (no more running off for hell and gone). Thanks for your observation that he is not as big and hefty as he appears on television; wouldn't have guessed that, as he comes off fairly substantial. And even as I wish he could run longer or beat something other than his same old competition, I can't think of anyone who could stay with him. By the 147 Timeform, doesn't appear the handicappers can either.

    Beautifully written. As usual, you express all the good emotions of racing.


  3. This is exactly how I felt when watching the final flight of the F-14 fighter jet at the Grumman factory where they were made. I was THERE. And it was AWESOME. The power. The glory. Amen!

  4. I was there too! Well, in front of the telly shouting and making the dog bark.

    What a horse. A great moment in racing history.

  5. I wish, I mean really, really wish, I was there too. But I'm go happy you were! What a wonderful story - hurrah, Frankel!

  6. I love when you write about racing. And this is a meet I find very special as it was, once upon a time, very, very local to me.

  7. You should be a racing commentator -- when you aren't banging out books, that is!

    1. I've already suggested to Tania that her agent get her a monthly racing column in a quality WOMEEN'S Magazine...too often it is assumed that pretty much all sport is mostly for the chaps and most women don't really undeestand anything about them, or enjoy and appreciate them properly. Which is tosh, as we ladies all know, but female commentators still stand out for their rarity too much. However fluent and authoritative they are, such as Claire Balding or Sue Barker, there are still too few female pundits.

      However, maybe Tania couldn't do live TV or radio as she cries and shouts like it REALLY matters and incoherent blubbing probably helps no-one understand what is going on - LOL! Thrilling excitement recalled in times of relative composure is more her forte!

    2. LOL, I too have mentioned that she writes about racing better than any Thoroughbred reporter or columnist today (the only comparison that even comes to mind is Joe Palmer, and he not only had a different style, but also he died in 1949, which makes him extremely inaccessible at the moment). Tania brings it all to life. Yes, yes to a column for a women's magazine. Get that agent in gear. She is a gift to racing.


  8. I don't really feel I need to watch it after that commentary. Amazing writing for an amazing horse. Rachel

  9. OH Tania, how I wish I'd been there! Caught up with the race online, but it's just not the same, is it?

  10. AND in a few more days you get to see Black Caviar in action as well. Oh WOW! Really looking forward to your thoughts on the the two of them.

    Don't worry about tears of excitement in front of Australians. We're a weird mob and a few of them were probably doing the exact same thing....

  11. I have tingles under my skin reading that. Glad you had such a glorious time. x


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