May 26, 2024

Enable strengthens grip on Arc favoritism with Yorkshire Oaks conquest

Enable concluded 2017 on a sensational six-race win streak (Photo courtesy Champions Series via Twitter)

Small field, no pacesetter, no problem for the streaking Enable, who adopted the do-it-yourself approach and steamrolled her rivals in Thursday’s Yorkshire Oaks (G1). Now the imperious winner of three Oaks plus the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (G1) over multiple Group 1-winning older male Ulysses, the Juddmonte homebred goes to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) as the red-hot favorite.

Enable was earning her second free berth to a Breeders’ Cup race. The King George garnered her a spot in the 1 1/2-mile Turf (G1), which would be her more natural spot, while the Yorkshire Oaks is a “Win & You’re In” for the 1 1/8-mile Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Any theoretical possibilities about Del Mar, however, must wait until after her date with destiny in the October 1 Arc at Chantilly.

With regular rider Frankie Dettori sending her straight to the lead, the prohibitive 1-4 favorite bounded clear, her happiness telegraphed by her pricked ears. Reigning Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf champion Queen’s Trust tried to keep tabs in second, but Enable kicked away down the long York stretch. The daughter of Nathaniel, from the immediate family of Flintshire, was gone beyond recall and crossed the line with five lengths to spare.

Late-running stablemate Coronet gave trainer John Gosden the exacta, staying on to grab second from the tiring Queen’s Trust. By replicating her third from last year’s Yorkshire Oaks, Queen’s Trust again provided evidence that 1 1/2 miles is slightly beyond her comfort zone. She barely held third by a head from Nezwaah, who made late progress in her first try at the trip. Alluringly and Abingdon concluded the order of finish a long way back.

“I felt like she had some left, believe it or not,” Dettori told Racing UK’s Rishi Persad.

“If you try to keep up with her, she’ll break your lungs, this! She’s a tool.

“When something comes to her, she gets competitive and she gets going. Today, it’s just like a gallop, and she still won by five!”

“I left the tactics up to Frankie,” Gosden said. “She pricked her ears out in front, but she just got lonely near the end and was just looking for some company. It’s not her favorite way of running, but she can do that.

“We had a lot to lose coming here – you all remember a horse called Taghrooda,” Gosden added, referring to his 2014 Oaks (G1) and King George winner who was famously upset by Tapestry in this very race. “But we let her use her stride and she has gone and won by five lengths and she can’t do any more.

“The timing between this and the Arc is lovely. What else were we going to do? We’ve now got seven weeks and while we will let her down we will keep her cantering because she is so well she dropped Frankie the other morning.

“We don’t need to run her in the (September 10) Prix Vermeille (G1), but the second might go there, along with Journey. Coronet got lost in Ireland and didn’t enjoy herself, but that was much more like it.”

Dettori didn’t have as much luck on Wesley Ward’s Happy Like a Fool earlier in the Lowther (G2). Motoring to the front in the supporting feature for juvenile fillies, she began to labor a furlong out, whether not seeing out the six furlongs or finding the good-to-soft going against her, or a combination thereof. You can also see her saddle shift in the video below as she retreats to sixth, but that appeared to happen after she was beaten, and didn’t affect Dettori’s ride in the main action of the race.

The Mark Johnston-trained Threading, on the other hand, lengthened in taking style for James Doyle and prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths from Madeline. The biggest disappointment of the race was Aidan O’Brien’s Actress, a tailed-off last of nine as the 3-1 favorite.

Campaigned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, who also raced the ill-fated Permian from the same yard, Threading was stepping up from a comprehensive debut victory at Goodwood. Connections supplemented her to the Lowther, but she sports early engagements in the September 23 Mill Reef (G2) versus the boys, the September 29 Rockfel (G2), and the September 30 Cheveley Park (G1).

Although Johnston said that plans are fluid, he mentioned the Cheveley Park at Newmarket, and you’d have to suppose a Group 1 target would be preferable now that she has a Group 2 by her name. Further down the line, Threading could develop into a 1000 Guineas (G1) hopeful next spring, and she’s already being quoted in the antepost market for the first British fillies’ classic.

Bred by Darley, the Exceed and Excel filly was produced by Chaquiras, an unraced full sister to the great Dubai Millennium.