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Frankel’s biggest fan an Australian?

October 4, 2012

http://www.justhorseracing.com.au/news/international-racing/frankels-biggest-fan-an-australian/165409

Frankel has captured the imagination of the racing industry all over the world. It’s hard not to be swept up in Frankel fever – the four year old is unbeaten, having recorded some of the most breathtaking wins imaginable.

His 2000 Guineas annihilation and his Queen Anne Stakes romp at Royal Ascot, where he recorded the highest Timeform rating ever, are two that immediately come to mind.

As the curtain draws on his illustrious career, with his final race set to be the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 20, tributes are flowing thick and fast from everywhere for the invincible galloper.

A website run by owner Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte operation – frankel.juddmonte.com – has been giving away merchandise, with a swell of support in the lead up to his swansong.

Matthew Steed may just be Frankel’s biggest fan

Through these competitions, Juddmonte believe they have found Frankel’s biggest fan – and he’s an Australian.

They have named Sydney racing enthusiast Matthew Steed as potentially the son of Galileo’s biggest fan worldwide, no mean feat given his global popularity.

Steed, a form analyst with Sportingbet and a keen follower of English form, had a big opinion of the horse as a two year old, but he says it was at three where he fell in love.

“That Guineas win, wow! I’d been watching horses for close to 30 years, and I’d never seen a horse do what he did that night,” he said.

“I just couldn’t believe my eyes!”

This was eclipsed by the Queen Anne Stakes, the race in which Frankel recorded a 147 Timeform rating, the highest ever recorded.

“The kids were asleep, my wife was dozing off,” he mused. “But they were awake for Frankel’s race. And he didn’t disappoint!”

“I reckon the crowd at Royal Ascot could have heard me, I was cheering that loud.”

The collection of merchandise includes a jacket, a polo shirt, a cap, a tie pin, a tie badge, a pen, a key ring,  a bracelet, a mug and eight large framed photos.

Colleagues of Steed say they’ve never seen anything like it.

“You should see his desk,” one said. “Most people have pictures of their kids. Matt has pictures of Frankel, and the collection keeps growing.”

“He is obsessed,” another agreed. “If there was a fire at his house, I’m not sure if he’d save the kids or the Frankel merchandise!”

Rather than dispute this, father of two Steed openly agrees.

“I would sell the kids into slavery if I could get my hands on one of his shoes,” he says with a mischievous grin.

However, the Penrith local is proud to know his kids have grown up with Frankel fever.

“My son knows all about the great horse, knows he’s the best he’ll ever see – and he’s not even five.”

Steed is sadly preparing for October 20, knowing he will experience a gamut of emotions in the hours and days following the retirement of Sir Henry Cecil’s charge.

“I already know I’ll be a mess,” he said. “October 21 is going to be one of the darker days of my life.”

He says comparisons with Australia’s unbeaten mare Black Caviar are difficult to make.

“She’s one of the greatest sprinters ever, but I reckon he would dominate her beyond 1200m,” he said.

“I even think he could beat her over six furlongs if he was trained for it.”

Sadly, Steed never got a chance to see his idol in the flesh on the racetrack but hopes the opportunity may arise once he retires to stud.

“If he ever shuttles to Australia, I’ll be there to welcome him off the plane!”

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