By Andy Stephens
Enable was on Wednesday given the green light to run in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday but John Gosden, trainer of the dual Oaks winner, says his perceived second string Jack Hobbs should not be underestimated.
Jack Hobbs trailed home a disappointing eighth behind Highland Reel in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month but Gosden says there were mitigating circumstances and believes the dice is loaded more in the five-year-old’s favour this time.
The trainer said at a media event hosted by QIPCO and Ascot on Tuesday: "I think the 34 centigrade heat and the lightning fast track at Royal Ascot did not suit him so he is back to probably his best distance and he's back to some give in the ground, so that should play to his strengths.
"He was very fortunate to get his ground in Dubai [when winning the Group One Dubai Sheema Classic impressively in March]. He wasn't so fortunate at Royal Ascot.
“It had always been the plan to run him in the Prince of Wales's. He had run obviously brilliantly over a mile and a quarter before in autumn ground, notably when he came back from the whole season off last year and finished just right in behind Almanzor and Found. You don't have much better form than that.”The runaway Irish Derby winner of 2015 is a general 11-2 chance in a market headed by his younger stablemate, Enable, who is no bigger than 7-4, having been available at 6-1 on Saturday. "Enable has been left in the race, and I think the final decision will be made tomorrow (Wednesday morning),” Gosden said. “I'll talk with the owner [Khalid Abdullah] and see how we want to play it, but she took Ireland very well. She got a bit of a cut behind, but that's healed.
"Her races have been well spread so far: Newbury to the Cheshire Oaks was about three weeks, then from the Cheshire Oaks to the Oaks was a month. Then, obviously six, seven weeks to the Irish Oaks. So, she's been well spaced, and she's done well physically.
"This is a two-week gap, but she took her race very well. So, we're having a really strong look at the race.
"She skipped clear of some very nice fillies in Ireland. She flew over, so she didn't have the strain of a 15-hour journey through Holyhead on the ferry either.”
On Wednesday, Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, confirmed the intention was to run Enable."John is happy with her and she's going to head to Ascot," he said.