Ascot King George 2020: Enable – Racing’s Darling

Enable bids to make history on Saturday 25th July by winning the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot for the third time.

She is only one of three horses who have won the race twice, alongside Dahlia who was successful in 1973 and 1974 and Swain who won the event in 1997 and 1998.

Enable has a wonderful record and unusually for a mare of her quality is still in training as a six-year-old. However, she does have other unfinished business to attend to as she will be bidding to become the first horse in history to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for a third time.

The sport is lucky to have such a standard-bearing superstar still in training but her owner Khalid Abdullah does have previous form in this area as he allowed the great Frankel to enjoy a four-year-old career, which was a huge gamble given how much he was worth at stud after his three-year-old season.

Enable ran only once as a two-year-old. She won a Class 5 Maiden Fillies Stakes on the all-weather at Newcastle at the end of November 2016. The Racing Post analysis about the race makes interesting reading: Enable “knew her job on this debut and settled the issue pretty quickly before drawing away to score comfortably. She looks capable of going on to better things”. Robert Halvin rode her at Newcastle and said after the race “She did that well though I don’t think there was much strength to the race but she could do no more than win. I expect she will be put away until next season where she will probably start off at 1m 2f”. A typical route for master trainer John Gosden.

She started her three-year-old campaign running in a Class 3 Conditions Stakes when she finished third behind her stable mate Shutter Speed who went on to win one more start during the season. Enable went to a whole new plane, which was possibly hinted at by John Gosden when he said after the race that, having raced only once, she needed the experience, and suggested that she would go to Chester for the Cheshire Oaks. She did go to Chester and won by 1¾ lengths.

Her next assignment was in The Oaks at Epsom. She was sent off at 6/1 joint second favourite which was the last time she has run at a better price than 5/4. She had a battle royal with the Ballydoyle runner Rhododendron drawing away in the last furlong to win easily by 5 lengths. There was plenty of talk after the race around her next target with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes appearing to be the option. However, John Gosden threw in a bit of a curve ball as she turned up at The Curragh for the Irish Oaks. Sent off as the 2/5 favourite, history repeated itself as she beat another Ballydoyle filly, Rain Goddess by 5½ lengths with her jockey Frankie Dettori having the luxury of easing her down before the line.

She next ran in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at a starting price of 5/4. She was running against older horses for the first time but it made no difference as she went on to win very impressively by 4½ lengths. After the race John Gosden said Enable “is a wonderful filly. To follow in the likes of Dahlia and Pawneese and even Taghrooda says a lot. She’d have won on good ground. She can handle anything. She has won on Tapeta, good to firm and now soft to loose.”

Her final start of the season was in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which was run at Chantilly due to the redevelopment of Longchamps. She was the overwhelming favourite and did not disappoint, beating Cloth Of Stars by 2½ lengths.

That was her sixth win in a row and she went on to run up a sequence of 12 wins in a row between May 2017 and August 2019, winning 10 Group 1’s including second wins in both the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, as well as taking the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.

She ran well in the Coral Eclipse on her first start this season to finish second and still looks happy enough to be racing. She is the 8/11 favourite for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and whether you have a financial stake in the race or not, we should enjoy her while we can.

Photo courtesy of Ian Yates

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