Enable on Arc Road

Enable on Arc Road

                                                                           by Bernard Kenny

The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is upon us and “what chance” stated breeder Fiona Hoddle when attending the Coolmore Australia 2019 Stallion Parade “when, and if, Enable takes out her third Arc how will she be rated to our Winx.”

Today Enable is rated 126 on the Longines World Best Racehorse Rankings following her defeat of the 127 ranked Crystal Ocean in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. But what of her recent Yorkshire Oaks victory when updated Ranking are released on 12 September.

Last year Winx was co-awarded the Longines World Best Racehorse with a 130 Ranking, equal to that of British champion Cracksman. Enable received a 125 Ranking in light of her second Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victory.

Can Enable become the ‘world’s mightiest racehorse’ in taking out a third Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe over 2400m on the first Sunday in October. Can she by-pass the great Criquette Head trained Treve who won in 2013, 2014 and fourth in 2015 to Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn.

Can she also go one better than the Vincent O’Brien trained Alleged who won in 1977, 1978 ridden by legendary Lester Piggott, the highly influential Ribot with wins in 1955, 1956, Corrida in 1936, 1937 and Ksar in 1921, 1922.

Enable already has one record, as the only horse to win the ‘Arc on two different tracks. Chantilly was her first success in 2017 as Longchamp was closed for renovations, with her second victory last year at the Arc’s traditional home of Longchamp.

In coming off her recent 2¾ length victory over arch-rival Magical in the Yorkshire Oaks of 1½m at York, Enable had defeated the Aiden O’Brien triple Group 1 winner Magical in their first meeting of the season, the Eclipse Stakes of 1¼m at Sandown.

The pair had met twice last season when Enable accounted for Magical by ¾ length in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. Previously Magical had finished tenth in Enable’s second ’Arc victory.

However, it was Enable’s neck margin over Crystal Ocean as the 8/15 favourite in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot that she showed her true championship quality.

Ridden confidently by Frankie Dettori for trainer John Gosden, Enable made ground from the half-mile in the ‘King George’ to gather-in the race leader Crystal Ocean at the two furlongs. Under strong riding by James Doyle, Crystal Ocean fought back but was unable to match Enable.

In addition to winning her first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as a 3yo Enable also won her first King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks, the Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks, Cheshire Oaks and was crowned Cartier Horse of the Year for 2017.

Owned and bred by Prince Khalid Abdullah, Enable is by his home-bred sire Nathaniel, winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth trained by John Gosden, from the stakes winning mare Concentric, by Saddler’s Wells.

What price the field, with Enable quoted by British bookmakers as an odds-on 4/5 favourite of this Arc, ahead of the Juddmonte International winner Japan at 5/1, Crystal Ocean 8/1 and Magical at 16/1.

Also looking for a second Prix de l’Abbye de Longchamp Longines victory is the English sprint sensation Battaash, trained by Charlie Hills for owner Hamdan Al Maktoum and ridden by Jim Crowley.

Battaash scored his first Prix de l’Abbye victory in 2017 at Chantilly by an unchallenged four lengths, but finishing a tiring fourth last year to Mabs Cross after leading the race to within the final 1000m.

Now his is coming off a sizzling Nunthorpe Stakes victory when clocking 47.28mph in breaking Dayjur’s 29-year race record in 55.90sec for five furlongs. Previously Battaash defeated the Australian mare Houtzen in his third King George Stakes victory at Goodwood.

Purchased by Shadwell Estate for 200,000Gns from Book 2 of the 2015 Tattersalls October

Yearling Sale from Ballyphillip Stud Ireland, Battaash is by the top-line sprinting sire Dark Angel, who has his world champion sprinter Harry Angel shuttling to Darley Kelvinside.

In returning to Fiona Hoddle at the Hunter Valley Stallion Parades noted “while Enable may be a good advertisement for inbreeding, I must be careful of too much inbreeding. I have a Commands and a Time Thief mare from a cross of Tickets, by Redoute’s Choice with another Commands mare.”

“On the cheaper scale, Showtime at Arrowfield Stud is a lovely type and hopefully it is OK to go to a son of Snitzel. Also at Arrowfield I thought Mikki Isle, the Japanese sprinter-miler would be good.”

“However, if the budget was larger…, as the Scat Daddy’s of Justify, No Nay Never and Mendelssohn were so impressive. I would have happily sent a mare to the whole line-up at Coolmore.”