Tom Queally, the jockey, and Frankel are joined by the owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, of Saudi Arabia, second right, and the trainer Sir Henry Cecil, after winning the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse.
Tom Queally, the jockey, and Frankel are joined by the owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, of Saudi Arabia, second right, and the trainer Sir Henry Cecil, after winning the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes at New

Thorough care for the 'greatest' thoroughbred



Most nights Sir Henry Cecil goes through a meticulous routine.

Before he turns off the lights in his imposing home at Warren Place in Newmarket, he checks on the well-being of Frankel, his priceless thoroughbred.

Yet Cecil does not make the trip across the yard to the stables; he flicks on a television set. So concerned is the 68 year old about the idiosyncrasies of the world's top-ranked racehorse that he had a CCTV camera installed in Frankel's stable to transmit images into his bedroom.

You can hardly blame him for resorting to a device akin to a high-tech baby monitor to ensure his charge, who, if he was on the open market, would carry an estimated price tag in excess of £30 million (Dh172,952m), comes to no harm.

It seems money well spent. Most top athletes, animal and human, have their foibles. Frankel is no different.

"He is always biting himself, that sort of thing," Cecil said. "He sweats between his back legs and decides he's too hot. When he gets too hot he tries to chew himself.

"He pulls his rug over his head - he might break his neck. He's always fighting himself. Little things. He's got little mannerisms. If you are always worrying about things though you can't really thrive on it."

So Cecil has installed a state-of-the-art CCTV camera to monitor Frankel from his bedroom during the quiet of the night.

And this is a trainer who shuns mobile phones and, at a news conference to unveil sectional timings for the inaugural British Champions Day meeting, could barely contain his irritation at having to install special equipment in the saddle cloths of his runners.

Prince Khalid Abdullah, of Saudi Arabia, has entrusted Sir Henry Cecil with the horse of a lifetime and the trainer knows it. At the end of his unbeaten juvenile career, Frankel was rated the best two year old in Europe alongside Dream Ahead.

Wind forward to July this year and he propelled himself to the top of the world rankings by blitzing Canford Cliffs in an much-anticipated showdown in the Sussex Stakes to win his fourth Group 1 race.

Ratings dictate the apex of thoroughbred achievement but it was the manner of his success that left an indelible streak on the memories of all Goodwood racegoers.

Thoroughbreds are pack animals, and it is a marked characteristic that unlike many racehorses who do just enough to win, Frankel averages over a five-length victory in his eight wins to date.

His athletic stride can punish horses at the beginning of races, but against Canford Cliffs he wound up the mismatch three furlongs from home to hit 42mph in the final furlong. It led Cecil, who has saddled more than 3,000 individual winners and accumulated 36 European Classics in a 40-year training career to remark that this was the best horse he had seen in his lifetime.

"It's a lovely position to be in to have a horse of that capability," Cecil said. "I've enjoyed it. Early on it was a bit complicated. I am a simple person, I like simple things. When you have a horse of that calibre, there is always a bit of pressure that comes with it. I've had to put two horses down this year, I've had horses break legs. They are like glass."

Which is why the trainer takes so much care to make sure his stable star is safe and sound.

If the colt has a freakish ability then he also has a fiery temper to go with it. Often Frankel can be seen foaming between the legs as the adrenalin of race day pumps around his athletic frame.

With only four races this year there has been a lot of down time, however, which for a hot-blooded young thoroughbred like Frankel can lead to certain frustrations.

His talent will be on display at Ascot tomorrow, where Frankel will be running in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. For Cecil, it represents the end of the road to redemption, for Prince Khalid, a triumph of loyalty.

Six years ago, the trainer who looked to be living on past glories. Cecil had been reduced to a mere spectre, both professionally and personally. As a trainer, the man who had accumulated 10 trainer's championships in 16 years had saddled just 12 winners, eight of which were provided by Prince Khalid as the owner stood by the handler during the lean times.

Cecil's second marriage was also on the verge of collapse, but that was not even the bottom of the trough.

Only months later Cecil was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

After a glittering training career, with 73 Royal Ascot winners to his name, nobody would have begrudged him retirement, but despite his lean and foppish exterior, there is clearly a granite core.

"I might not be [competitive] on the outside," he has said. "But I am on the inside, definitely - underneath, very competitive. Always have been. We like winning."

Cecil liked the taste of victory so much that it was the only aspect to his life that drove him back towards redemption.

In 2006, Cecil sent out 25 winners in Britain, with Prince Khalid providing three of Cecil's four best earners in Novellara, Passage Of Time and Star Cluster.

In 2007 he won the English Oaks with Light Shift and, two years later, he secured his first race at the Breeders' Cup when Midday carried Prince Khalid's pink, green and white colours to the first of her three victories in the Filly and Mare Turf.

The international jaunts continued, and for the past two seasons he has brought Twice Over to compete in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse.

It is Prince Khalid's older horses that have carried him through this season, too.

Frankel apart, the next four highest earners in his yard all carry Prince Khalid's silks. Cecil has saddled 53 winners this year and yet only six of those were two year olds, despite over half of his yard comprising juveniles.

Twice Over, Midday, Timepiece and Principal Role have swelled the coffers by over £750,000 (Dh4.3 million) this season which puts their handler in fourth place in his pursuit of an 11th trainers' title. If all goes to plan tomorrow, he could make up the £850,000 shortfall between him and Richard Hannon.

With such sums on offer for Britain's richest race day, it is no surprise Newmarket trainers are falling over themselves to back Sheikh Fahad Al Thani's new Champions Day vision, with Cecil no exception.

"To me, this meeting is one of the best things that has ever come into racing," he said. "We need a real Champions Day and at this time of the year. We in England and Europe, have the best racehorses in the world. Few people would contradict that.

"We should have a really top Champions meeting for our horses. If the prize-money is fantastic we should get horses from abroad as times goes on. This meeting is going to become more and more important.

"Isn't it easier, more satisfactory and rewarding, having had a hard year, to go two hours from Newmarket in a horse box to Ascot, rather than when a horse changes its coat in November to fly all the way to America, quarantine and eat hamburgers for the Breeders Cup?"

Cecil's comments raise the possibility that, like so many horses at this time of year, Frankel may have had enough. The leaves of autumn have signalled the end of many a racehorse's season; the rigours of a busy summer can catch up on them. Cecil does not envisage that tomorrow, however.

"Horses can go over the top, just like that," he says, speaking in his customary staccato. "They start working too well. It means they are trying to get it over with very quickly and just go like that. They just do it. I don't think that will happen to these ones though."

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre V8

Power: 502hp at 7,600rpm

Torque: 637Nm at 5,150rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Price: from Dh317,671

On sale: now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Avatar (2009)

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

Rating: 3/5

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
Aggro Dr1ft

Director: Harmony Korine
Stars: Jordi Molla, Travis Scott
Rating: 2/5

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

Avatar: The Way of Water

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

Rating: 3.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The Two Popes

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce 

Four out of five stars

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

8 traditional Jamaican dishes to try at Kingston 21

  1. Trench Town Rock: Jamaican-style curry goat served in a pastry basket with a carrot and potato garnish
  2. Rock Steady Jerk Chicken: chicken marinated for 24 hours and slow-cooked on the grill
  3. Mento Oxtail: flavoured oxtail stewed for five hours with herbs
  4. Ackee and salt fish: the national dish of Jamaica makes for a hearty breakfast
  5. Jamaican porridge: another breakfast favourite, can be made with peanut, cornmeal, banana and plantain
  6. Jamaican beef patty: a pastry with ground beef filling
  7. Hellshire Pon di Beach: Fresh fish with pickles
  8. Out of Many: traditional sweet potato pudding

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

Teachers' pay - what you need to know

Pay varies significantly depending on the school, its rating and the curriculum. Here's a rough guide as of January 2021:

- top end schools tend to pay Dh16,000-17,000 a month - plus a monthly housing allowance of up to Dh6,000. These tend to be British curriculum schools rated 'outstanding' or 'very good', followed by American schools

- average salary across curriculums and skill levels is about Dh10,000, recruiters say

- it is becoming more common for schools to provide accommodation, sometimes in an apartment block with other teachers, rather than hand teachers a cash housing allowance

- some strong performing schools have cut back on salaries since the pandemic began, sometimes offering Dh16,000 including the housing allowance, which reflects the slump in rental costs, and sheer demand for jobs

- maths and science teachers are most in demand and some schools will pay up to Dh3,000 more than other teachers in recognition of their technical skills

- at the other end of the market, teachers in some Indian schools, where fees are lower and competition among applicants is intense, can be paid as low as Dh3,000 per month

- in Indian schools, it has also become common for teachers to share residential accommodation, living in a block with colleagues

The Roundup

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Ma Dong-seok, Sukku Son, Choi Gwi-hwa
Rating: 4/5

Profile of Bitex UAE

Date of launch: November 2018

Founder: Monark Modi

Based: Business Bay, Dubai

Sector: Financial services

Size: Eight employees

Investors: Self-funded to date with $1m of personal savings

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Alaan
Started: 2021
Based: Dubai
Founders: Parthi Duraisamy and Karun Kurien
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $7 million raised in total — $2.5 million in a seed round and $4.5 million in a pre-series A round

 

 

UAE squad

Ali Kashief, Salem Rashid, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Khalfan Mubarak, Ali Mabkhout, Omar Abdelrahman, Mohammed Al Attas (Al Jazira), Mohmmed Al Shamsi, Hamdan Al Kamali, Mohammad Barghash, Khalil Al Hammadi (Al Wahda), Khalid Eisa, Mohammed Shakir, Ahmed Barman, Bandar Al Ahbabi (Al Ain), Adel Al Hosani, Al Hassan Saleh, Majid Suroor (Sharjah), Waleed Abbas, Ismail Al Hammadi, Ahmed Khalil (Shabab Al Ahli Dubai) Habib Fardan, Tariq Ahmed, Mohammed Al Akbari (Al Nasr), Ali Saleh, Ali Salmeen (Al Wasl), Hassan Al Mahrami (Baniyas)

Our Time Has Come
Alyssa Ayres, Oxford University Press

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