Champion–a person who has surpassed all rivals in a sporting contest or other competition.
I think this is a fair way to describe Enable.
In her career, which has spanned nearly three years, this daughter of Nathaniel has only been beaten once. That was when third in a conditions race at Sandown in April 2017 after a good maiden victory in the previous November.
Her trainer John Gosden has been the key player in the success story of Enable. He knew when to aim high and also when to mind her and let her come into her own. He aimed high after her first two starts and put her into the Cheshire Oaks. The faith was rewarded and she won very well. Eyes were then set on the Oaks. In the driving rain and boggy ground, she was cool, calm and classy when other fillies weren’t and stamped her authority in the Epsom Oaks. She seconded that performance in the Irish equivalent and then took on the older horses and won the King George VI Stakes. She concluded her English campaign in the Yorkshire Oaks and took her winning tally to six.
Next up was her first try at the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe. At two furlongs out, she slid into the lead and no one could pass her. It was a dominant performance. It oozed regal class.
By this point, Enable was affectionately known as the Queen Of Racing. Her 2018 campaign was a lot quieter as she sustained an injury at the beginning of the year. Gosden chose a nice and easy start and, as a result, she made a winning return at Kempton. From there, it was all roads pointing to Longchamp. This was a new track for her and some people had their doubts. Those doubters were nearly proved right when Sea Of Class came storming down the outside to just miss out on victory. Enable stuck her neck out and won a second Arc. Sea Of Class sadly passed away recently due to colic and there is a huge void where she would’ve been, in the Arc 2019. The rematch was the main thing talkies about for a while after the 2018 renewal and it is incredibly sad that she won’t be taking her place.
Next stop for Enable was America. At Churchill Downs, she was, well deservedly, an odds on favourite but got into a battle with Magical, an Aidan O’Brien filly, up the straight. Two of the best jockeys – Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore – riding two of the top fillies in the world. It was a race to savour and rewatch over and over again. Dettori and Enable hung on, capping a fabulous few weeks.
Frankie Dettori has had an incredible season this year. He’s won ten group one races in England and has partnered top horses like Too Darn Hot, Logician, Anapurna, Stradivarius, Crystal Ocean and three came with Enable herself. Those were in the Coral-Eclipse and in a King George VI Stakes that will go down in history. She fought tooth and nail with Crystal Ocean down the Ascot straight and it was only in the dying strides that Enable got past the recently retired colt. Last time, it is believed that she ran her last race in Britain when scoring easily in the Yorkshire Oaks, taking memories back to the day she won the race in her three year old campaign.
Now its time for the Arc and she’s going for three consecutive wins in the race.
This is a feat only attempted by Treve. Let’s go back to the 4th October 2015 and to Longchamp Racecourse. The stage was set. She’d won the 2013 and 2014 renewals. Now was her time to cement herself as one of the greatest there’s ever been. It didn’t work out as the fairytales would’ve told it. After running keen, she came fourth. Frankie Dettori, the showman of racing, finds himself in the same position as Thierry Jarnet. The expectations and anticipations of a nation sat on those Italian shoulders of his.
It won’t be easy for her though. She has a strong challenge from many nations. There has been a lot of talk about her fellow English contender Ghaiyyath of Charlie Appleby’s. He’s not been seen in England since completing a double on his second and third starts, both on the Rowley Mile. On of those was in a group three. He ran just once at 3 in a group three at Longchamp, which he won. Earlier this year, he won a group two and finished third in a group one, behind Waldgeist. The talk of the Arc properly expanded in early September after he absolutely hacked up in a group one in Baden-Baden but that was against horses with a RRP of 105 at the highest. He is lightly raced and open to improvement but he has to carry 3lbs more than Enable.
Waldgeist is a wonderful horse. Five now, he has won three group ones and placed in a whole host of others. He won the Prix Ganay at the start of the season and then was third in the Prince Of Wales, behind Magical. Next time, he followed in Enable and Crystal Ocean in the King George VI. He could definitely place.
The other French runners are the John-Claude Rouget trained pair of Soft Light and French King as well as Sottsass. The aptly named French King has won his last three starts, all group twos, in Germany. He deserves his place in the race but some of these may be more classy. Soft Light won on debut and had kept decent company since. He’s been behind Japan and Al Hilalee recently so he has a lot to find. Sottsass is only three and is a horse with a huge future. It all finally clicked into place at the top level, after four runs, when he won the Prix Du Jockey Club in June. He had a bit of a break after that and came out and won the Prix Niel on the 15th September. He’s a smart colt and a course and distance winner. Draw one may not be ideal.
The market suggests Japan is Enable’s chief rival. The Aidan O’Brien colt was a decent two year old, winning a group two at Naas, but was third in the Derby after a poor performance in the Dante at the beginning of the season. He won at Royal Ascot in the King Edward VII really easily and then took the Grand Prix Du Paris, beating Soft Light, over this course and distance. He was a 5/1 winner of the Juddmonte International, beating Crystal Ocean, in August, so, on collateral form, he’s at a par with Enable but she’s tried and tested at this level.
Magical is the other, seemingly second string, Aidan O’Brien. She’s been a busy girl all season and had already won a full set of group races but the end of May. She ran into Enable and Crystal Ocean for the next three runs but deservedly won the Irish Champion Stakes last time out. I actually prefer her to Japan and I think 11/1 is a good price for her to place.
It is good to see that the country of Japan is represented. They have three – Fierememt, Kiseki and Blast Onepiece. The latter has won over £3Million and won the grade one Arima Kinen at Nakayama. He’s by GB stallion Harbinger and at 40/1, he’s the one with the best chance out of the challengers from the east. Fierememt also has a good chance. He’s a dual group one winner up to two miles and will be staying on Kiseki is also a group one winner over roughly two miles and he’s very consistent without winning. A step up is needed.
Last to talk about is the Czech runner Nagaro Gold. He is a Listed winner in his native land and also over course a d distance here. He ran at Royal Ascot and had the worst run possible. He was closing quickly at the end and I wouldn’t be surprised if he out-ran his odds. He was one place behind Soft Light last time at Deauville and that horse is the outsider.
The supporting races are good too. On Saturday, Enbihaar, who is four from five this year goes in the Prix De Royallieu for John Gosden. Dee Ex Bee is finally running in a race not against Stradivarius and goes in the Prix Du Cadran.
Action hots up on the Sunday with the group one Prix Du Marcell-Bousac and Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, in which Amory runs. After the Arc is the Prix L’opera Longines, where Mehdiyaah is a 7/4 shot. Bataash is looking for another win this season in the Prix De L’abbaye but it won’t b straight forward. Concluding the big race action is the Prix De La Foret, which has attracted a good field.
In all this, the star of the show will be Enable.
We all want her to prove how good she is because we know she is a champion. Albeit, the official ratings don’t put her at the top but us racing fans believe in her and her abilities. For me, as a young racing fan, there’s nothing as exciting as equine brilliance. She can do anything, win over whatever trip John asks her to, on any ground or in any country. She is the horse that brings us all together. The racing world can bicker at times. We, a lot of the time, dwell on the issues that face our sport – whether that be the whip or sales practices- and sometimes blow them all out of proportion but it is incredible when a horse can unite us all.
Thank you Enable, we are all behind you. X