There are many ways to greatness, through brilliance like Frankel’s Guineas or the capturing of hearts like Red Rum’s Grand Nationals. Enable’s four-year racing career has managed to produce both in equal measure.
Her sole career as a juvenile came at a Newcastle in a class 5 maiden, where she went off the 7-2 2nd favourite, winning easily from a now 85 rated Gallifrey. Enable’s next start came as a three-year-old where she faced the first of her three defeats, behind stablemate Shutter Speed. Keen and green throughout, she stayed on strongly late in the day, suggesting there was more to come.
However, a modest career albeit one with potential would take a turn three weeks later when she was united with the enigmatic Frankie Dettori for the first time in the Cheshire Oaks. Once again going off as 2nd favourite, she quickened away smartly to win by 1 and ¾ lengths eased down.
Next up was Epsom, a thunderstorm of apocalyptic proportions, put a literal dark cloud over arguably her finest performance. Sent off the 6-1 joint 2nd favourite, she was forced to show her hand over three furlongs out, with odds on favourite Rhododendron appearing to be travelling smoothly, both fillies neck and neck until the furlong pole, as Rhododendron’s effort petered out, Enable powered clear to win by 5 lengths.
Her jockey that day Frankie Dettori said post-race: “She’s very good, she stays very well, she’s still a bit of a frame and she’ll only get better and better”. And boy was he right, an Irish Oaks, a King George, a Yorkshire Oaks and a dominant display in the Arc finished her Classic season.
It would be nearly a year until the public saw her again.
If her three-year-old season was about brilliance, her four-year-old campaign was about guts. An injury in May delayed her season until September, where she brushed away the talented Crystal Ocean with ease. However, her season was once again interrupted with a sickness.
Her next appearance was in the Arc, looking to join the plethora of other multiple Arc winners, she was sent off an even-money favourite. Kicking clear two furlongs out, she started to weaken close home, the fast-finishing and slightly unfortunate Sea of class only just failing to collar her. Enable held on by a short neck.
Her trainer John Gosden said: “She won it through guts and determination, and quite frankly she was quite fortunate to win.” The shortened campaign allowed adding a Breeders Cup Fillies and Mares turf to her CV, at the expense of her old rival Magical, the pair nine lengths clear of the remainder.
Murmurs of her retirement were quickly silenced, with an unprecedented third victory in the arc on the agenda. Her five-year-old season began smoothly with a victory in the Coral-Eclipse; however, she was made to work very hard to win a second King George.
Travelling wide around the bend, Enable travelled ominously three furlongs out, but Crystal Ocean wouldn’t lie down, for three furlongs they battled, with Enable getting on top close home to win by a slightly cosy neck, albeit in receipt of 3lbs. Another Yorkshire Oaks followed. Enable went into her third Arc unbeaten in twelve, in what should have been her swansong. Sent off the 1-2 favourite, Enable kicked for home two furlongs out, only to be caught in the last fifty yards by the strong finishing Waldgeist.
John Gosden said: “There’s no doubt she was in great form going there. We couldn’t have had her happier in herself. I felt very much then, rather like her three-year-old years, she was right at the zenith of her powers. I will always say they went too hard and too soon in testing ground.”
Enable returned as a six-year-old to lay the ghosts of last year behind. Her starting point, the Coral-Eclipse where she faced defeat for only the third time in her career, against a race fit Ghaiyyath. A comfortable victory in an oddly run King George was followed by her last appearance on a British racecourse, a run of the mill Group 3 at Kempton, won her any amount in hand. But in truth, no matter how impressive she has been in her last two starts, it’s all been geared towards Sunday.
She was outstayed last year on Very Soft ground and faces the prospect of even softer ground and a stronger pace this year.
John Gosden said: “s a six-year-old, nothing comes as easy to her as it did. Some of the speed starts to just disappear. She’s an old pro now going into this Arc.”
Win or lose she will go down as one of the great race mares. But a third win in the Arc will put her among the legends. A feat that may never be beaten.