- Sire-Dam -
Enable has established herself among the all-time greats of the turf and the great news is that she will be back in training in 2020 as a six-year-old.
Her ten Group 1 triumphs, the same number that Frankel accumulated, have included six memorable victories in races which fall under the QIPCO British Champions Series umbrella, back-to-back triumphs in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe plus a compelling success in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.
She also beat all bar Waldgeist on her latest start when attempting to win a record third Arc.
But let’s go back to when she announced herself on the big stage.
After a taking success in the Cheshire Oaks, at Chester, in May 2017, the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned filly started 6-1 second favourite for the Investec Oaks at Epsom, with the QIPCO 1000 Guineas runner-up, Rhododendron, all the rage and sent off at odds-on.
In a dramatic renewal, run in heavy rain with thunder and lightning rumbling around the track, the front two in the betting had the race between them from two out.
Rhododendron, trained by Aidan O’Brien, moved upsides Enable seemingly going the stronger but it was a different story by the end. Enable galloped on relentlessly to win in a record time under Frankie Dettori as the favourite buckled and, by the end, was five lengths clear. Rhododendron could simply not keep up, but she, in turn, was six lengths clear of the third home.
Trainer John Gosden was enjoying a second Oaks triumph and said: “She is a big powerful strong filly. She always had a good frame on her and she filled it out well.
“I just took my time with her and gave her one race as a two-year-old at Newcastle over the straight mile which suits that type of horse and then she ran great at Newbury [finished third, April 21]. The Investec Oaks was some race. Nathaniel [sire] was a proper mile and a quarter/mile and a half horse and Concentric [dam] is a wonderful mare from a beautiful family.
“She is a magnificent filly. prince Khalid has strong views as to where he likes his horses to run as he knows the race programme inside out but obviously, 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.”
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Abdullah, remarked: “From two furlongs out, I was very nervous as Rhododendron seemed to be travelling so well but Enable ran on, lengthened and put the race to bed.
“There was a good gallop but Classics should be run at a good pace as we are trying to find out if we were good enough and whether we can breed from them – that is the whole ethos of the owner-breeder.”
Enable started 2-5 for the Irish Oaks on her next start and was similarly impressive, winning easily by five and a half lengths from another O’Brien inmate in Rain Goddess.
The Yorkshire Oaks seemed likely to be Enable’s next likely destination but she came out of her race in Ireland so fresh and well that connections took the plunge and ran her in the QIPCO-sponsored King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
Gosden said: “All in all she’s as good a filly as I’ve ever trained – Taghrooda was brilliant to win this and she’s following Dahlia and Pawneese. I’ve always planned the Yorkshire Oaks, then pause, stop and think – no trials and then possibly the Arc.”
Enable duly ran in the Yorkshire Oaks next time and started at 1-4 to beat her five rivals. She jumped out and made all for an easy win by five lengths.
It was a fourth successive Group 1 win – gained by an aggregate of 20 lengths.
She confirmed her brilliance in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, trouncing her 17 rivals by almost three lengths without Dettori having to get serious.
“I was very confident all week, she is a tremendous filly,” Dettori said. “I said to John last week she is the best she has ever been. To keep this filly at 100 per cent all year is fantastic.
“I had position ‘A’, I knew I had no weight and she stays, so I kicked and she gave me four lengths and the race was over.”
The decision to keep Enable in training as a four-year-old in 2018 was a bold one, but unfortunately she was found to have injured a knee in early May and her reappearance was delayed until September 8 – when she returned in the Group 3 September Stakes.
It looked like Enable had never been away. She made all and beat Crystal Ocean, the King George runner-up, in emphatic style by three and a half lengths.
Four weeks later Enable became the first British-trained horse to become a two-time winner of the Arc, despite having been under the weather in the interim.
Dettori had the even-money favourite perfectly-placed on the heels of the leaders before he kicked for home. It proved crucial, as the line came just in time for her – but not soon enough for Sea Of Class.
Drawn out wide, the William Haggas-trained filly was dropped out last by James Doyle and was still a long way off the pace rounding the home turn.
She rattled home once in the clear to set up a garndstand finish, but Enable had just enough in the tank to claim a popular victory by a short neck.
Gosden said: “It’s not been the preparation we wanted, it’s been very difficult. I actually had a hiccup between Kempton and here with a slight temperature, so it has not been easy.
“She wasn’t at her best today. I’ve had a difficult year with her. She’s a wonderful filly and it’s an enormous sense of relief.”
Later in the month, she journeyed to Churchill Downs in Kentucky for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The seven previous Arc winners to journey onto the Breeders’ Cup had all been beaten but she rewrote the record books – fending off Magical, who had won on QIPCO British Champions Day just two weeks earlier, by three-quarters of a length in a great race up the straight. The pair drew almost ten lengths clear of the rest.
More proof, if it were needed, that she is willing and Enable.
News that Enable was to be kept in training at five, in 2019, delighted all racing fans.
It was suggested she might return in the Investec Coronation Cup and then Prince of Wales’s Stakes. A little slow to come to hand, she missed both.
However, those getting twitchy need not have worried. She returned in the Coral-Eclipse and was a decisive winner, again at the main expense of Magical.
In the process, she became only the third of her sex to win the race – and the first since Kooyonga in 1992.
Dettori said: “When I watched the replay, she was the last off the bridle yet everyone was saying the trip was too short. That’s the way I like her – a strong traveller, got a kick, got everything.
“It would be wrong of me to say I don’t love horses. I love horses, but I love her more than the rest because she takes me emotionally to places other horses can’t.”
He added: “Look at the races we have won together, the biggest races in the world, it is phenomenal. I have tears in my eyes every time I ride her because she has character.”
She showed that character in spades next time when beating Crystal Ocean, at the time the highest-rated horse in the world, by a neck in the King George.
The pair locked horns from two furlongs out and had an epic duel that evoked memories of the “Race of the Cenutury” between Grundy and Bustino in the 1975 King George.
Enable edged ahead in the final strides, with Dettori only using his whip once. The jockey said: “In all my career it is probably the hardest and most hard-fought race I’ve ever had. It was two great champions. Give credit to Crystal Ocean, he put it out there for me and it was an amazing race.”
Gosden added: “She’s everything you ever want. She’s a brave and wonderful filly, and what a great battle with Crystal Ocean. It’s what you wanted to see.”
He added: “I think she possibly carried him (Dettori) into the race a little too easily, and I thought he’d hit the front a long way out, but he felt he had to go then.
“Crystal Ocean showed all the courage in the world, and the first two are wonderful – they put up a great King George. Frankie was slightly hands and heels and waving it (whip) at her, he didn’t really throw everything at her at all. He just felt he wanted her to do it slightly within herself.
“It was a great race, it’s what it’s all about.”
Neither Grundy or Bustino ever won again, but Enable came out 26 days later and won a second Darley Yorkshire Oaks.
Magical, supplemented at a cost of £25,000, was back for another crack at her but Enable made all at an honest gallop and kept on stoutly to beat her old rival by almost three lengths.
Cue more scenes of great celebration on the Knavesmire on what was almost certainly her final start in Britain.
Dettori could not hide his emotions afterwards. “It’s embarrassing crying on TV, but I was crying with happiness!” he said. “She felt great and she’s had a great send-off in front of the English people.”
Like most of us, Dettori assumed she was running in England for the final time but eight days after the Arc it was announced she would be back for more in 2020.
Her remarkable story has more chapters.
BCS Career statistics
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