Houtzen for ParisLongchamp

Houtzen for ParisLongchamp

by Bernard Kenny

Another Enable Arc!

Houtzen may create Australian racing history in winning the Prix de l’Abbaye Longchamp Longines at ParisLongchamp, but Enable will definitely create international history in winning her third Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

In an indifferent European racing campaign this year Houtzen goes into the Gr1 Prix de l’Abbaye of 1000m as the 20/1 chance following her disappointing 10th when highly fancied in the Flying Five Stakes of 5 furlongs at The Curragh.

Now under the care of Manton trainer Martyn Meade, Houtzen previously gained attention at Glorious Goodwood when she took ground off the British sprinting star Battaash, in the final furlong of the King George Qatar Stakes over 5 furlongs.

However, the horse to beat is the 2017 Chantilly Prix de Abbaye winner Battaash, who as the odds-on 5/6 favourite is coming off a strong victory in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, having previously won his third Goodwood King George Qatar Stakes by ¾ length from Houtzen.

Trained by Charlie Hills at Lambourn and ridden by Jim Crowley, Battaash is by the outstanding sprinting sire Dark Angel, and last year finished a ¾ length fourth to Mabs Cross in the Prix Abbaye when leading until the last furlong as the 11/10 favourite.

Mabs Cross is the 8/1 second favourite to retain her Prix Abbaye crown for trainer Michael Dobs, and was previously sixth to Fairyland in the Flying Five Stales at The Curragh, having won the Haydock Palace House Stakes in May.

Surprise fancies in early betting are the Group 2 winning 2yo’s A’Ali and Liberty Beach, while sharing 12/1 in the betting is the Fighting Five winner and $7.5m Golden Eagle entrant Fairyland and former Flying Childers Stakes winner Soldier’s Call.

Following the Prix Abbaye the owners Aquis Farm plan to mate Houtzen to the duel French classic winner Lope de Vega, standing at Ballylinch Stud in Ireland. Today she is the winner of over $2.2m in stakes including the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, PJ Bell Stakes and Champagne Stakes.

As Australia’s only entrant at Royal Ascot this year Houtzen faced the cream of European sprinters in the King’s Stand Stakes on the opening day, under the care of her Gold Coast trained by Toby Edmunds and was ridden by Kerrin McEvoy.

On stumbling from the starting gates in the King’s Stand, Houtzen quickly made ground to reach the lead in the middle stages, only to weaken out of the finish. In a repeat of last year’s finish Godolphin’s Blue Point again defeated Battaash, the 2/1 favourite, by 1¼ lengths.

Houtzen was unable to join an elite group of Australians in taking out the King’s Stand Stakes, a Group 1 event over 5 furlongs, with Choisir being our first ever Royal Ascot winner in 2003, who also won the Golden Jubilee Stakes four days later.

The Joe Janiak trained Takeover Target followed in 2006 with victory in the King’s Stand, and it continued with Miss Andretti in 2007 and Scenic Blast in 2009. However, it was Black Caviar’s 2012 Golden Jubilee victory that was Australia’s greatest moment.

Sired by the highly successful I Am Invincible, Houtzen was a $105,000 buy from Book 2 of the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale consigned by Yarraman Park Stud. She is second foal of the winning Reset mare Set To Unleash and is the family of multiple Group 1 winner Sun Classique.

What of Enable creating international equine history in taking out her third Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe! First it will extend her jockey Frankie Dettori record to seven wins having won on Lammtarra in 1995, Sakhee 2001, Marienbard 2002, Golden Horn 2015 and Enable 2017, 2018.

Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah of Juddmonte Farms will be one win ahead of Marcel Boussac and HH Aga Khan IV, with Rainbow Quest his first winner in 1985, followed by Dancing Brave 1986, Rail Link 2006, Workforce 2010 and Enable in 2017, 2018.

Champion British trainer John Gosden prepared the Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn to be his first Arc de Triomphe winner in 2015, followed by Enable as a 3yo in 2017, Enable again last year, with Enable as a 5yo mare on this Sunday 6 October.