- Sire-Dam -
Enable developed into the outstanding middle-distance performer in 2017 – winning five successive Group 1 races, including three in the QIPCO British Champions Series.
After a taking success in the Cheshire Oaks at Chester, the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned filly started 6-1 second favourite for the Investec Oaks at Epsom, with the QIPCO 1000 GuineasRhododendron, 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. 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.
“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 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 for Enable – 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 on her.
“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 reappeared 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.
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 an epic 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.”
More proof, if it were needed, that she is willing and Enable.
BCS Career statistics
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