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Enable thunders to victory in Investec Oaks

2 Jun 2017

John Gosden-trained filly wins Investec Oaks at Epsom in record time under Frankie Dettori.

Enable and Dettori power to Investec Oaks glory in stormy conditions at Epsom. Picture:

Trainer John Gosden and owner Khalid Abdullah registered their second victories in the Investec Oaks

as Enable won a dramatic running of the fillies’ Classic at Epsom Downs.

Thunder and lightning rolled around the course when the horses were in the paddock and, after a humid day, the race was run in heavy rain and poor visibility for the jockeys.

It did not stop Enable, ridden by Frankie Dettori, who was registering his fourth victory in the contest, winning in a record time.

The three-year-old daughter of Nathaniel travelled well throughout the 1m4f event and engaged in a pulsating battle with 8-11 favourite Rhododendron, trained by Aidan O’Brien, in the home straight.

Gosden’s filly, an impressive winner of the Cheshire Oaks at Chester last time, surged clear in the closing stages to win decisively by five lengths. Rhododendron’s stable companion, Alluringly, stayed on well to finish a further six-lengths back in third.

“The quality in the field today was so recognisable and I thought this was a top-quality Oaks,” Gosden said. “I was absolutely terrified of Rhododendron coming into the race.

With what Winter has achieved [British-Irish 1000 Guineas double] and how unlucky she was at Newmarket [QIPCO 1000 Guineas], given we were taking her on with a Listed winner, of course I was terrified. However, my attitude was that we could make a real race of it rather than we could actually win.

“I thought coming here today that there was a good chance we might do this and we have. It’s great for Nathaniel to get a Classic winner in his first crop.”

As for future plans, he added: “Khalid [Abdullah, owner] has strong views as to where he likes his horses to run as he knows the race programme inside out, but you have races like the Irish Oaks or go for the King George so these are all things to think about. We can dream of the future.

“I would not see the point of taking her back to mile and a quarter because there so many wonderful races at a mile and a half.”

By contrast, Rhododendron could drop back in trip. Aidan O’Brien, her trainer, said: “Ryan just felt the last furlong was a long furlong on our filly. I would say that Rhododendron would be very happy going back down in trip.”