The York Ebor Meeting, which opened its doors on Wednesday August 21 and concludes on Saturday August 24, 2019, revels in its role as a British conduit to the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend on Saturday October 5 and Sunday October 6. The Ebor Meeting showcased a number of Arc candidates, and namely in the Juddmonte International (Group 1, 2.000 metres) on Wednesday (August 21), followed by the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1, 2.400 metres) on Thursday, August 22.
Enable inches ever closer to an historic treble
Enable (Nathaniel) was the star draw in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks: a race which she had previously annexed as a three-year-old in 2017. The Prince Khalid Abdullah champion didn’t disappoint as she made every post a winning one in the Group 1 event – leaving the high class
Magical (Galileo) trailing two and three-quarter lengths in her wake. These two incredible distaffers had the race to themselves as there was a further gap of ten lengths to the third Lah Ti Dar (Dubawi). The Darley Yorkshire Oaks will be Enable’s ticket to the Arc, and her trainer John Gosden revealed before the race that his champion, endowed with a big, lopping ears, loves to race and would otherwise get bored at home if she weren’t allowed to gallop!
John Gosden said: « She put in a very good performance and there was no point contradicting when she left the stalls as the mare tends to be smartly into her stride. Frankie Dettori [notes to editors: the winning jockey] said that she really picked up in the final 400 metres. She loves her time on the training grounds, and she loves to race. I’m happy with my choice of race as it was a perfect prep for the Arc and we couldn’t be happier. She’s an incredibly competitive mare and, if you were married to her, you would have to listen! (…) Granted that she has rediscovered her three-year-old form, as you saw today, she is incredibly tough to beat. However, we will have to be weary of the three-year-olds [in the Arc] as they have a weight advantage »
Enable again underlined that she remains the one to beat in the Arc in which she will face the stiffest test of her career, as the mare bids to become the first to win the coveted Group 1 prize at ParisLongchamp for a third time. The bookmakers certainly believe that this will be the outcome, as Enable revels in the role of hot favourite, having been quoted at odds of 5-4 on and evens.
Japan looms as the mare’s main rival…
Enable was still in her box on Wednesday before taking the road that leads to York… However, the outcome of the Juddmonte International Stakes (Group 1), which was run that same day and which acted as a magnet as for some potential Parisian opposition, and notably amongst the male division, was the source of more than a passing interest in the ‘Enable’ camp. For it enabled the mare’s entourage to home in on the Arc claims of the three-year-old colt Japan (Galileo). Coming off a win in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Group 1) at ParisLongchamp on July 14, over the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe course and distance, Japan marked his York win with the accolade of beating the world’s top ranked horse in the international rankings: Crystal Ocean (Sea the Stars). Enable had previously beaten Crystal Ocean by a neck in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Group 1) in July.
At York, Japan beat Crystal Ocean by a head. Consequently, the Irish colt has been elevated to the role of second favourite for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the bookmakers’ antepost lists. Crystal Ocean and Sottsass (Siyouni) occupy the next line of betting.
The various preps designed to put horses on the road to the Arc are coming up thick and fast: and namely The Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1) Leopardstown on September 14th. That is without forgetting the St Leger (Group 1) at Doncaster (GB) the same day. The Arc Trials card at ParisLongchamp on September 15, of course, also corresponds to this description as it features The Qatar Prix Vermeille (Group 1), the Qatar Prix Niel (Group 2) and the Qatar Prix Foy (Group 2).