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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


To even bid to do so would be beyond most horses – then again, Enable is not most horses but quite extraordinary. Her career on the track of 10 Grade/Group 1 success in as many outings at elite level is evidence of that.

Enable” by Jlvsclrk (CC BY-SA 4.0)

No racehorse in its storied history going back almost 100 years has won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France more than twice.

In amongst those are two King George Triumphs at Ascot, a convincing couple of Yorkshire Oaks victories and not forgetting the Epsom and Irish Oaks double back when she was a Classic filly.

As strange as this will seem, it’s not really any of those wins that have put Enable on the map as a global equine star. It’s winning the Arc at Chantilly and then retaining it when Europe’s richest horse race returned home to Longchamp in Paris last October.

Enable’s owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah is used to seeing his world famous Juddmonte colours carried to victory across the planet. Arrogate became an international superstar between 2016 and 2017 when scooping the Breeders’ Cup Classic, then the Pegasus and Dubai World Cups raking in millions of dollars on the dirt.

Frankel spent his entire career unbeaten in the UK and is among the pantheon of thoroughbred greats, but the late Sir Henry Cecil and his owner never took him abroad. Enable now tries to do what previous dual Arc heroine Treve couldn’t and win the Arc for a third time.

She’s an even-money favourite in the horse racing live betting on the race with 888Sport to do just that. The task facing her, however, is not as a simple as those odds suggest.

Treve at Longchamp
licensed under CC BY-SA

Treve won all her races including the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and the Vermeille en route to a tilt at a third Arc in 2015. Her customary racing style invariably saw her take a keen hold, but on this occasion when it mattered most and with history beckoning it may have been a factor in defeat.

The French mare who had won the Arc twice so easily couldn’t quicken as a five-year-old and, although she stayed on late in the day, Treve didn’t even make the frame when finishing fourth. Two of those ahead of her were three-year-olds getting crucial weight.

It’s a fact that Enable’s trainer John Gosden highlighted in his post-race interview after her second Yorkshire Oaks success. He namechecked the gutsy Japan – a beneficiary of weight-for-age no less some 24 hours earlier when wearing down Crystal Ocean in the Juddmonte International.

Enable will have to give colts two years her junior 3lb and concede 7lb to any three-year-old fillies tackling her. These aren’t favourable terms in spite of the sex allowance she enjoys from older male horses.

It may be one reason why she only held on by a short-neck from the fast finishing and ill-fated closer Sea Of Class in the Arc last year. Enable remains the form horse and one all-comers to Longchamp have to beat but – as Treve proved – attempting history is one thing and making it quite another.

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3 Responses

  1. Greatness notwithstanding, reality and time is not on Enable’s side. Weight may not stop a train but it does slow it down and this year the great mare has looked more like a grinder than turn of foot type.

    Just hoping that when October comes, Gosden and Frankie can work their magic just one more time.

  2. Enable is a horse that’s easy to root for. I certainly hope she’s able to pull off the three-peat that has never before been accomplished. However, I do understand, as John stated, age and weight will be a big factor. However, even at 5, I think she still has the gears.
    A third Arc would be a fitting end to a great career.

  3. And she’s such a sweetheart. Prior to her last start, Frankie took her over to the far side of the course where families of fans–they still revere horses in Great Britain–stood shooting pics on their smart phones.

    She just stood there and even sort of posed, cocked her head toward the people, ears up, with Frankie loving on her with hugs. Such a nothing little thing but think I’ll ever forget that scene.

    And, yes, in that race she was sharp, showing more turn of foot than in her prior start. But she had me forever at Breeders’ Cup 2018!

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