The Enable story
We look back at the career of Enable – one of the best racehorses ever to grace the turf
When Enable ran her first race on 28 November 2016, it couldn’t be imagined what she would achieve in her illustrious career. The breeding though was pretty decent and there was every chance she would be a decent runner in the pink and green silks of Khalid Abdullah.
However, the talent soon became apparent when she won the Cheshire Oaks in 2017 – the first time Frankie Dettori was on board the John Gosden-trained Nathanial filly. From then on, she started to chalk up big-race victories one after the other, including the biggest prizes either side of the Atlantic.
But it all started in a modest race at Newcastle.
The Enable fact-file
- Sire – Nathaniel
- Grandsire – Galileo
- Dam – Concentric
- Damsire – Sadler’s Wells
- Foaled – 12 February 2014
- Breeder -Juddmonte Farms
- Owner – Khalid Abdullah
- Trainer- John Gosden
- Jockeys – Rob Havlin (1 ride), William Buick (1), Frankie Dettori (14)
Two-year-old season (2016)
Enable ran just the once as a two-year-old in November. The race was a one-mile Newcastle maiden on the all-weather, the prize-money was £3,000 and she was ridden by Robert Havlin.
She was held up at the back of the field before starting to move on the leaders three-furlongs from home, and maintained her progress to take the lead inside the furlong. She won by three-and-three-quarter-lengths and was returned at 7/2
Three-year-old season (2017)
A £10,000 race at Newbury in April over one-mile-two-furlongs was her first contest of the new season, where William Buick took the ride, and she was rated 84.
She took a bit of a hold in the early stages but settled to mount a challenge two from home and just failed to grab second place. Stablemate Shutter Speed was the winner.
Frankie Dettori took the ride when the filly was stepped up in class to contest the Listed Cheshire Oaks over one-mile-three-and-a-half-furlongs at Chester. He would now be in the saddle for all Enable’s subsequent races.
Rated 102, she tracked the leader, the Aiden O’Brien-trained Alluringly, before sweeping past her at the three-pole and was being eased down as she crossed the line, one-and-three-quarter lengths in front.
To Epsom and the Oaks, which was preceded by a thunderstorm as the nine fillies went to post.
Another Aiden O’Brien trained runner, Rhododendron, ridden by Ryan Moore, was the 8/11 favourite. Enable, rated 107, was the 6/1 second favourite.
The pattern of her running style had been set, and she hit the front two furlongs from home, and powered on with Rhododendron being left behind in second. There was no easing down this time and she won by five lengths. The third, Alluringly, was another six lengths back.
After Chester and Epsom, the Irish Oaks at the Curragh in July was now the target. Her Epsom price of 6/1 was left well behind as she was the 2/5 favourite.
Enable, now on a mark of 120, took the lead two furlongs out, adding to the distance the further she went and winning by five-and-a-half-lengths. Rhododendron was second.
She came up against older horses for the first time in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 12 furlongs at Ascot. It was less than a fortnight after the Curragh win and the rating had increased to 122.
She tracked the pacemaker Maverick Wave before taking the lead as the field turned into the home straight. Again, Dettori asked her to push on and she left the other runners far behind. With a further burst of speed inside the final furlong, she finished four-and-a-half-lengths in front of Ulysses.
Up at York a month later, for the Yorkshire Oaks, she was the 1/4 favourite and rated 127. It was another demolition job, only this time she took the lead from the start. The outcome was never in doubt and she beat Coronet by five lengths
The first Sunday in October could mean only one thing – the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. It was being run at Chantilly while Longchamp was undergoing its two-year redevelopment.
Enable had not been one of original entries so a €120,000 supplementary fee was paid to let her run in Europe’s most prestigious middle-distance race.
She settled in third place, went into the lead in the straight, and pulled clear to win by two-and-a half-lengths from Cloth Of Stars.
She was now rated 129, the fifth-best horse in the world and the best three-year-old filly.
Group/Grade 1 wins
- The Oaks (Epsom 2017)
- Irish Oaks (Curragh 2017)
- King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Ascot 2017, 2019 and 2020)
- Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Chantilly 2017 and Longchamp 2018)
- Breeders’ Cup Turf (Churchill Downs 2018)
- Eclipse Stakes (Sandown 2019)
Four-year-old season (2018)
Due to a training setback, Enable’s return to the racecourse was on the all-weather in Kempton’s September Stakes.
At odds of 8/15, she was reported as 80% fit but still put three-and-a-half lengths between herself and runner-up Crystal Ocean.
A month later she returned to France for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which was back at Longchamp.
Despite her interrupted four-year-old season she was installed as the even-money favourite to become the eighth horse to win two Arc’s, something which an English trained horse had never done.
She again tracked the leaders, as she had done at Chantilly, and swept into the lead inside the final furlong. But this time, rather than appearing to have the race at her mercy, she was being reeled in by Sea Of Class. Despite weakening she held on to make it two Arc wins by a short-neck.
For her final run as a four-year-old she crossed the Atlantic to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. Having won back-to-back Arcs, a win in the US would make her the first horse to follow up an Arc victory with the Turf.
She raced in mid-division until taking the final turn on the wide outside and was in the lead. But again, there was another runner breathing down her neck. This time it was Magical, ridden by Ryan Moore. The rest of the field trailed some way behind as the two moved ever further ahead, but this time she had the measure of her rival and crossed the line three-quarters-of-a-length in front.
Five-year-old season (2019)
There was another late start to the new season, and it wasn’t until July when she took part in the ten-furlong Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park. She had been rated 128 when she raced the previous season, and was now on a 125 mark. Needless to say, the odds were short and she went off the 4/6 favourite.
Hunting Horn was in the lead and Enable maintained second position until the two-furlong marker when she took the lead. Magical was again in close attention but the result was the same – Enable won by three-quarters-of-a-length. She joined Kooyonga and Pebbles to be the third filly or mare to win the Sandown Group 1 contest and the first five-year-old mare to take the prize.
She was back at Ascot later in the month in a bid to win her second King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. She was the 8/15 favourite and it was pretty much business as usual.
Enable overtook Crystal Ocean two furlongs out but had to fend off the five-year-old who tried to battle back but lost by a neck. The third-placed horse was Waldgeist.
There were only three rivals when she was the 1/4 favourite for the Yorkshire Oaks. As with her previous run on the Knavesmire, she took the lead when the gates opened. Magical was once again her main opponent but this time she won by a convincing two-and-three-quarter-lengths. The York win put her in good stead for the holy-grail of a third Arc win.
At Longchamp, where she was the 1/2 favourite, she was in fourth position before taking the lead two-furlongs from home. Again, there was another challenger closing down on her but she seemed to have the measure of the advancing rival. However, this time she couldn’t find any late extra speed and Waldgeist flashed past to win by one-and-three-quarter-lengths.
- Cartier Champion Three-year-old Filly (2017)
- Cartier Horse of the Year (2017 and 2019)
- Cartier Champion Older Horse (2018 and 2019)
Six-year-old season (2020)
The 2020 campaign again got off the ground at Sandown for the Eclipse in July. Enable was the evens favourite and her rating was back to 128.
Ghaiyyath, trained by Charlie Appleby, set the pace. Enable, who was reported as not fully-fit, couldn’t get on terms with the front-running Ghaiyyath who scored by two-and-a-quarter-lengths.
Only two rivals were prepared to take on Enable when she attempted a record third win in Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes later in the month. She was the 4/9 favourite and, in the early stages, followed the Irish Derby winner Sovereign with Japan back in third.
There was no difficulty with this win. She went in front coming up the home straight and won with the luxury of five-and-a-half-lengths
The September Stakes at Kempton was again the prep race for a further attempt at the trio of wins in the Arc. She won on the all-weather by seven-lengths, returned at 1/14.
She was installed as the 5/4 favourite for her fourth visit to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but there was widespread concern that the heavy ground was a big negative in the attempt at a third victory.
True enough, the tortuous ground meant she was soon struggling and she came home sixth behind Sottsass. He was immediately retired at the age of four. A week later it was announced that Enable had run her last race.
The third Arc win was not to be, but Enable’s 15 other wins, peppered by Group 1 victories including the Oaks, the Eclipse, three King Georges and the Breeders’ Cup Turf, sets her apart not only from her contemporaries but also many a Flat horse in living memory.