Enable added another chapter to her glittering success story in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York on Thursday 22nd August 2019.
The five-year-old mare, owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah and trained by John Gosden, was seeking her 12th successive win and 10th Group One victory.
Her bid to become only the second British-bred horse this century to win 10 Group 1 races saw her aim to match the record currently held by Frankel (who also raced in the pink, green and white of owner Khalid Abdullah and Juddmonte Farms), widely regarded as the ‘greatest ever’ racehorse when she lined up in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
To add to the pressure, her team were looking for a repeat of her victory in this race from 2017 – and it was also to be the final start of her career in Britain.
Jumping quickly out of the stalls she made the race her own, travelling easily and seeing off a brief challenge from Magical to win by two and three-quarter lengths.
Jockey Frankie Dettori was moved to tears by the performance, saying afterwards: “I’m really tearful, because it’s the last day she’ll be running in England, so it’s special. She got a tremendous turn out and produced a tremendous performance.
“I know how good she is, and when I pressed the button she went.”
Gosden said: “It was a gorgeous performance from her.
“She cruised round there and really quickened the last two (furlongs) – she really turned it on. It’s a long way in front – a mile and a half round the Knavesmire.
“Magical came to her, but she found a lot in the last two furlongs, to that extent she showed her class and it was a good performance.”
Setting off as favourite to beat three rivals in the £425,000 QIPCO British Champions Series contest, it had boiled down to an intriguing showdown between Gosden, who also ran Lah Ti Dar, and Aidan O’Brien, who saddled Magical and South Sea Pearl.
After Magical found unable to beat Enable for the fourth time, Aidan O’Brien commented (on Enable): “She’s unbelievable.”
Enable won the Investec Oaks, Darley Irish Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as a three-year-old. Last year, despite her season being truncated by injury, she won a second Arc before becoming the first winner of the France’s biggest race to go to on glory at the Longines Breeders’ Cup in America.
This year she continued to thrill her bulging fan club with further wins in the Coral-Eclipse (only the third of her sex to win the race) and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes (only the third dual winner). In the latter, she prevailed by a neck after an epic battle with Crystal Ocean, the world’s highest-rated horse.
The Yorkshire Oaks’s mile-and-a-half event looked to represent her most straightforward assignment since she won the corresponding race two years ago by five lengths at 1/4, but Gosden was taking nothing for granted as his Taghrooda was beaten at 1/5 in the 2014 running. A year later, his brilliant Investec Derby winner, Golden Horn, also suffered a shock defeat at the meeting.
Enable had evidently frightened off some opponents but, unperturbed, O’Brien and Coolmore opted to supplement two-time Group 1 winner Magical, who scooped the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot last year, plus the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in June.
Magical finished behind Enable the three times they have met since October, although there was only three-quarters of a length between the pair in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and the same margin in the Coral-Eclipse.
Enable faced another challenging opponent in the form of Lah Ti Dar, owned by Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber. Her dam, Dar Re Mi, won the Yorkshire Oaks a decade ago for them, was trained by Gosden, and was herself sired by Singspiel, the 1997 Juddmonte International winner.
Lah Ti Dar has kept the family flag flying high at York – winning the British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes by ten lengths at the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor meeting last year, before returning to the Knavesmire in May to scoop the Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Stakes.
Simon Marsh, racing and bloodstock manager for the Lloyd-Webbers, commented before the Yorkshire Oaks:
“Enable is a beautiful, incredible filly and she’s been so fantastic for the sport generally. She’s been absolutely brilliantly handled by John and all the team at Clarehaven and we are very lucky to see a filly of her quality going on and racing at five.”
Her latest victory saw Enable become the first double winner of the Darley Yorkshire Oaks since Islington in 2002 and 2003, and the first five-year-old winner of the race since Supper Tassa in 2001.
Enable will now attempt to lift the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for an unprecedented third successive year at ParisLongchamp in October.
Photos by Ian Yates, www.eyewhy.co.uk
Enable, trained by John Gosden and currently rated the World’s highest rated female horse, has won 13 races from 14 starts so far, with her only loss (placed 3rd) coming at Newbury in April 2017 on her second time out.
She is closing in on the 14 career wins attained by Frankel during his unbeaten career and she could yet match him for winners with her current plan being a tilt at a third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris in October.
Rod Street, Chief Executive of Great British Racing, horseracing’s promotional body, said: “Superstars such as Enable have such a positive impact on horseracing. In all sports, people are naturally drawn to the best performers and Enable is a sporting high-achiever, her exploits going beyond the racing audience.”
Barry O’Dowd, assistant trainer to John Gosden, said: “She has to be the best horse we’ve ever had, she’s a Group 1-winning machine.
“We’ve been blessed to have some fantastic horses over the years, the likes of Golden Horn, Kingman, Taghrooda, all the way back to Oasis Dream and Raven’s Pass, but Enable outshines them all in my opinion.
“For what she’s done, and coming back from injury as well, not many horses are able to do that. She’s absolutely incredible.
“If there’s one thing you notice about her it’s that 95% of the day she walks around with her ears pricked. Those great big ears are always standing up, taking everything in. She’s very alert and just doesn’t miss a trick – she’s a very intelligent filly. Her alertness is amazing, she can spot something a quarter of a mile away that other horses can’t.
“Fillies like this come around once in a lifetime. You’ve got to pinch yourself at some of the horses we have here and she’s the queen of the whole lot. She really is the matriarch of all of the fillies in the yard at the moment.”
Simon Mockridge, stud director of Juddmonte Farms, said: “Enable was a very attractive foal. Right from the beginning, she was tall with size and scope and good bone – a very well made, quality and athletic filly in all respects.
“That she has gone on to establish herself as one of the greatest race fillies/mares is wonderful for Prince Khalid and everyone at Juddmonte.
“She is a fourth generation homebred, our highest earning homebred and our most successful filly by Group 1 wins.”
Video credit: QIPCO British Champions Series.
Stats and facts on Enable
- Five-year-old Bay Mare
- Born February 12th 2014
- 13 wins from 14 races at a strike rate of 92.8%
- Has won at 11 different tracks including Ascot, Chester, Curragh, Epsom, Kempton, Newcastle, Sandown, York, Longchamp, Chantilly and Churchill Downs
- TEN Group 1 wins
- Combined winning distance in all of Enable’s races: 43 1/2 lengths
- Has won on ground ranging from standard/slow – Good to firm.
- Won races in the months: May, June, July (x4), August, September, October (x2) and November (x2)
- With a current rating of 126, she is second in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse rankings behind Crystal Ocean, despite beating Sir Michael Stoute’s charge in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes at Ascot last month
- Initial rating of 84, now 126 putting her up there with some of the greatest race fillies ever – Minding: 120, Ouija Board: 121, Treve: 126
- She’s beaten 13 horses who are now registered stallions including Ulysees, Highland Reel, Jack Hobbs, Talismanic, Zarak, Brametot
- Career winnings: £9,380,752, while her sire, Nathaniel won £1,464,688 in prize money, meaning she’s won over £7.5 million more than her sire
- Has been favourite on 10/14 runs
- Miles run in races: 19.5 miles
- Enable, her dam Concentric and granddame Apogee have all been bred by Juddmonte farms
- Awarded Cartier champion three year old filly (2017)
- Awarded Cartier horse of the year (2017)
- Awarded Cartier older horse of the year (2018)
- Only seven horses other than Enable have ever won two Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes. Enable is going for a historic third, which no other horse has done
- Horses from England, Ireland, USA, France, Germany and Japan have attempted to beat Enable unsuccessfully