ASCOT, England (AP) — Unbeaten Frankel won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes by four lengths Saturday, giving the world's top-ranked thoroughbred a ninth straight victory on the inaugural British Champions Day.
With Queen Elizabeth II watching at Ascot, Frankel bolstered his reputation on the richest day in the history of British horse racing.
"He's the horse of a lifetime for the public, let alone the jockey," rider Tom Queally said after being cheered by a crowd of 27,000, the season's biggest.
Saudi Arabian owner Prince Khalid Abdullah added: "Many people think he is the best horse they have ever seen."
The 3-year-old colt won in 1 minute, 39.45 seconds, beating 6-1 shot Excelebration. The French filly Immortal Verse was third.
"He was as good as ever and is getting more professional with every run," Queally said. "He's getting stronger and he's the real deal — not that he wasn't before."
Henry Cecil's Frankel is named after Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who died in 2009.
"He's a terrific horse," Cecil said. "He's done everything we asked of him, and next year he will easily get a mile and a quarter.
"It's been a long year and I'm looking forward to getting a winter over him. He's a champion, he's out of the ordinary and hopefully he will continue to prove himself next year."
But Cecil ruled out taking Frankel to the Breeders' Cup next month at Churchill Downs.
"He won't run again," he said. "He'll be put away for the winter."
British Champions Day is the culmination of a new 35-race program sponsored by members of the Qatari royal family through the investment vehicle QIPCO. It is intended to secure horse racing's long-term future in Britain.
Frankel's success only partially diverted attention from a growing feud over new whip rules that has led one top jockey, Richard Hughes, to quit the sport Thursday.
Belgian-born jockey Christophe Soumillon received a five-day ban Saturday for breaching the new whip regulations during his winning ride on Cirrus Des Aigles in the Champion Stakes.
Soumillon was ruled to have used his whip six times in the last furlong. As well as his ban he also forfeited his riding fee and percentage of prize money, amounting to about $79,000.
"I'm very embarrassed for English racing today," Soumillon said. "You have a lot of problems but the whip is not one of them.
"Jockeys are not here to whip horses, they are here to make the horses do their best and that is what I tried to do. We now have padded whips, they are very soft and I hit my horse to make him do his best in the last furlong."
The Professional Jockeys Association has asked the British Horseracing Authority to revise the range of penalties and is attempting to avert a strike by jockeys.
Irish jockey Hughes handed in his racing license after being banned twice during the first week of new rules limiting the number of times a rider can use his whip on a horse at the end of the race.