Enable set to clash with Anapurna as Gosden explains reasons for running at York
Enable is poised to meet stable companion and fellow Oaks heroine Anapurna in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks as John Gosden explained preparing Flat racing's brightest star for her eagerly anticipated attempt at Arc history will be made easier by giving her what is set to be one last run on British soil.
Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe revealed on Saturday that after bringing the house down at Ascot with victory over Crystal Ocean in a pulsating King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes, Enable is next set to race at York's Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor festival.
Gosden, who had wanted to see how the five-year-old recovered from the King George before confirming a plan, had long been clear his York preference was the Yorkshire Oaks on August 22 – which Enable won in 2017 – over the Juddmonte International a day earlier.
He is sticking to that plan, which is expected to place the nine-time top-flight winner into competition with Anapurna, who on May 31 kickstarted Frankie Dettori's incredible run of what became 12 summer Group 1 triumphs when Advertise struck at Deauville on Sunday.
Dettori will be aboard Enable in the Yorkshire Oaks, for which she is generally 1-5 favourite, and then again on October 6 when she bids to become the first horse ever to win the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe three times. No bookmaker offers more than 6-5 about her rewriting the sport's record books at Longchamp.
Speaking from Saratoga, Gosden said: "The key factor is there are 71 days between the King George and Arc. That is a long time. You don't want to be letting her all the way down to then bring her back again.
"She has been very full of herself since the King George and actually quite playful. It wouldn't be in our interests to try to keep a lid on her for 71 days, while nor has she had a stiff spring and early summer campaign. She enjoys training and racing, so it is wise to put a nicely spaced race in the middle."
Explaining why the Yorkshire Oaks had been selected over the Juddmonte International, Gosden said: "We've picked the Yorkshire Oaks because I wasn't comfortable with bringing her back in trip having just returned to a mile and a half at Ascot, where possibly the best part of her race was the last half-furlong. She won over a mile and a quarter in the Eclipse first time out this year, but Sandown, with its stiff four-furlong uphill finish, is a very different track to York, which is flat and produces a different style of race.
"Let's play to her strengths and give her a nice run in the Yorkshire Oaks, after which we have around six weeks of build-up to the Arc. No decision on what happens after the Arc has or will be made for some time but I think you would have to say the likeliest scenario is that the Arc will be her last race."
Welcoming one more opportunity to show her off on home soil, Gosden added: "She has been trained in Britain and run a lot of her great races in Britain. The Ebor festival is a hugely important meeting to us and York attracts probably the most knowledgeable and passionate crowd you will find on any racecourse anywhere in the world."
Like Dettori, Gosden is achieving remarkable things this year. Two more Group 1 triumphs at Glorious Goodwood took his 2019 elite level haul to nine, matching what in 2017 was his record total and leaving him four wins away from the new personal best of 13 he reached last year.
Much of his success has come with an exceptional group of middle-distance fillies and mares that, as well as Enable and Anapurna, includes Irish Oaks winner Star Catcher, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud victor Coronet, Nassau Stakes second Mehdaayih, Lah Ti Dar and Enbihaar, who romped to Group 2 glory at Goodwood and is now bound for the 1m6f Prix de Royallieu, to be staged as a Group 1 for the first time on the Saturday of Arc weekend.
"Anapurna has always been moving towards the Yorkshire Oaks, so it's a strong possibility she will be there with Enable, all being well at the time," said Gosden.
"Coronet and Lah Ti Dar could also be possible runners, although Coronet may well go to the Prix Jean Romanet and Lah Ti Dar has other options, too. Star Catcher is looking towards the Vermeille.
"I just wanted an even pace for Enbihaar on Saturday, which we got, and Jim Crowley rode her perfectly. Having been immature at three, she is now an improving four-year-old and coming into full bloom and development."
Gosden added: "As a trainer you are lucky to have fillies of this quality. A lot of the owner-breeders sell their colts in order to keep studs going. Consequently, I often wind up with a majority of fillies in the yard, rather than colts. Vincent O'Brien always told me that is very bad business, but fillies are fascinating creatures and I enjoy training them."
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