Enable, the Nathaniel filly who dominated the 2017 Arc, came into this year’s contest as a short horse.
Her season was disrupted by an early injury and the only prep given her by trainer John Gosden was on the all-weather course at Kempton, where she defeated Crystal Ocean easily.
Facing Europe’s stars in the continent’s signature race, however, was another question — one she and jockey Frankie Dettori answered emphatically.
After breaking alertly, Enable took station in fourth place until the field hit the straight. Dettori sent her to the lead inside the 200-meters mark and she seemed clear.
But then came Sea of Class, winner of the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks, barreling up like a freight train from the back of the 19-horse field, only to fall one jump short of catching Enable.
Those were followed by Cloth of Stars, Waldgeist and Capri.
Adding a bit of post-race intrigue, trainer John Gosden revealed after the race Enable’s progression even after the Kempton race had been interrupted by an ill-timed fever.
After the race, Gosden deflected all praise from himself and even jockey Frankie Dettori, who won his sixth Arc. Instead, he gave all the credit to Enable and her owner/breeder, Prince Khalid Abdullah.
Gosden also was more immersed in the moment than the future.
But before the race, he had told Racing Post, “If Enable runs well and is in good order after the Arc, strong consideration would be given to the Breeders’ Cup Turf. She began her season only in September, so it makes sense to take a fresh horse out there if she’s in good shape.”
May it be so.
UPI Horse Racing Roundup – Robert Kieckhefer