Watch a full replay of the 188Bet September Stakes at Kempton on Saturday won by Enable, Rishi Persad's interviews with winning connections and read Geoffrey Riddle's report from the course below.
Wake me up, when September ends.
Superstar filly Enable whetted appetites for next month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp with an easy win over Crystal Ocean on her eagerly-anticipated seasonal return in the 188Bet at Kempton on Saturday.
Last year’s Chantilly heroine made full use of the 8lb the King George runner-up had to concede to her, and under a hands and heels ride from Frankie Dettori she made a mockery of the 4-5 quotes you could get on course to win by three and a half lengths. She was returned 8-15 and there was 17 lengths back to 66-1 shot Cribbs Causeway.
The daughter of Nathaniel was sent off 10-11 for the Arc in October, and she is now no better than Ladbrokes’ 5-2 to become the eighth dual winner of Europe’s showpiece event. Further ahead, Khalid Abdullah’s filly was slashed from 8-1 in to a best-priced 4-1 for the Breeders’ Cup Turf on November 3.
As a trial for October 7 on the back of a knee injury that had kept her out of the public eye for 342 days, it was as good as it gets.
"She’s awesome!," Dettori said, as he rushed off to catch a helicopter to Haydock with trainer George Scott in order to ride James Garfield in the 32Red Sprint Cup.
"It gives her more credibility with Crystal Ocean being in the race.
"Her home work had been good, but we hadn't gone beyond a mile at home and there was always that little bit of doubt in my mind if she was 100 per cent fit, but she is trained by a master. You can always rely on him.
"I'm delighted, she was as good as ever. You'd expect to her improve and it's all systems go to Longchamp."
Enable looked bulkier than last season, no doubt a symptom of being stuck in her stable since she suffered her injury in May. She was due to return in June, and then in August, and the extra few weeks have resulted in a fitter, more polished proposition than if she had returned at the Ebor Festival last month. Trainer John Gosden was another who was in a hurry to rush off, as he was catching a plane to Keeneland, but had enough time to reassure punters that there would be no recoil from this performance in four weeks.
“She won’t bounce,” he said confidently. “Not with a month and a race like that. I wouldn’t have any bounce theories there. It was a perfect trial. Being attacked six furlongs out wouldn’t have been.”
It was not a flawless reintroduction. Enable was warm in the preliminaries and understandably was a little free going down for her first start of the year. If you ignore the ease of her procession strictly she comes out around a 1lb inferior at the weights to Crystal Ocean, a race fit adversary who was given a tender ride by David Probert. Her time was 1.27s outside standard on what was a standard to slow track.
For sheer convenience, it was a better race to return in than next week’s Prix Vermeille over the Arc course and distance, for all the traffic was terrible due to a train strike - it beat travelling across the Channel. With four weeks until the Arc, it will allow more time for her to recuperate and Kempton, like ParisLongchamp, is right-handed, too.
The four-year-old will clearly improve markedly for this run-out, and the Clarehaven handler tried to put a figure on exactly how much.
“She came here 80 per cent, and if you want to stretch it to 85 per cent,” he said.
“She has found it more frustrating than us. It really annoys her when the other horses go to canter on the Heath, she doesn’t like it.
“She has a stronger mind that you and I put together. She is very strong willed. She loves racing and loves training. She wants to go out there and use her action. This morning she did not go out for first lot and started grinding her teeth.
“Her work in May before she ran in to this problem was exceptional. Obviously we were going to race in June, in the Prince Of Wales’s and King George, but that never came to be.”
There has been little to no discussion as to what might transpire after the Arc. Despite an astonishing CV of three Oaks, a King George and a win in France, Enable has raced just nine times and has few miles on the clock. Should she turn up in France with credit, there may be a chance she makes her first trip out of Europe after that.
“I don’t know about next year,” Lord Grimthrope said. “Let’s get through the Arc and see. There are still opportunities after that, like a Breeders’ Cup, but we haven’t got that far.”