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Dubai Sheema Classic winner Cirrus Des Aigles aims to defend Qipco Champion Stakes title

It continues to rain across England, but if the going stays off the heavy side, Frankel is likely to take his place in Saturday’s Qipco Champion Stakes (G1) at Ascot, capping a brilliant card for the British Champion Series.  There should be no denying, however, that the soft ground will be a concern. 2012 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) victor Cirrus Des Aigles has every right to repeat in this race after upsetting So You Think in 2011.  He was dismissed at 12-1 that day, but Corine Barande-Barbe’s gelding is the opponent of the greatest class the unbeaten Frankel has ever faced.  More so, Cirrus Des Aigles has had phenomenal success over softer going, which only adds to the chances of toppling Frankel.  John Gosden trainee Nathaniel holds top credentials, and last met Frankel in their career debuts.  Master of Hounds was victorious in the Jebel Hatta (G1) in March, and won the Topkapi Trophy (G2) at Veliefendi in his last start.

Below, a selection of videos from the career of the best horse Frankel will have faced – Cirrus Des Aigles.

2012 Dubai Sheema Classic

2011 Qipco Champion Stakes

2012 Prix Ganay


  1. Make no mistake, Cirrus Des Aigles is top shelf, and under ordinary circumstances he’d be the one to be backing in this year’s Champion Stakes. But anytime you’ve got a horse of Frankel’s magnitude in the field it’s no longer ordinary circumstances. I’ve followed racing from all over the world for the better part of 30 years now. I’ve seen all 3 of the American Triple Crown winners from the 1970′s, Secretariat in 73′, Seattle Slew in 77′, and Affirmed in 78′, plus Ruffian. Among some of the great European horses I’ve seen in my lifetime are Blushing Groom, Nijinsky, Shergar, Dancing Brave, and Sea The Stars. IMO, Frankel ranks right there with any of these for one main reason in my eyes. Of all of the above mentioned horses, I’ve never seen one that can go from being just off of the pace in the midst of a race to 6 or 7 lengths clear of an entire field in the blink of an eye as quickly as Frankel does it time again. How many times have we seen him make really good thoroughbreds look ordinary? The first big initial burst of speed that Frankel uncorks when Queally ask him for run is simply devastating. There’s no horse on planet earth right now that can counter that initial burst of speed Frankel has. That’s how he puts races to bed so quickly. JMO.

  2. Valiant effort by Cirrus Des Aigles against Frankel in the Champion Stakes. He ran about as well against him as any horse has in a major G1 stakes race ever, although the ground was in his favor much more so than it was in Frankel’s. Still, there’s no question in my mind that Cirrus Des Aigles is among the elite of middle distance turf horses world wide, and he seems to be as equally effective when he races at 12f as he’s been when he races at 10f, IMO.

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