It seems to be the worst kept secret in racing.
While not confirmed as such by John Gosden, it would appear that Enable’s sixth place finish in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will be the last competitive outing of her career.
Hopes of a record third win in the French showpiece were dashed largely by the muddy ground, although the six-year-old still held half a chance heading into the final straight. However, she was unable to reel in the winner, Sottsass – who was third in the renewal last year – and eventually faded into sixth.
In many ways it was a bizarre edition of the Arc, with the testing ground producing a very different result to that which many expected. Stradivarius, another British hopeful, was back in seventh as the business end of the race was dominating by French horses – the first five home are all trained on Gallic soil.
And that was after Aidan O’Brien was forced to withdraw his four entries just hours prior to the race after they returned positive tests for a banned substance – the Irish trainer later blamed that on contaminated feed.
All of which means that Enable’s career, presumably, ends on something of a damp note, although Gosden is yet to confirm the filly’s retirement plans.
“We’ll see what the plan is with her and whether she’s retired immediately,” the trainer said.
“As always, Prince Khalid will want a report on her a week after the race and we’ll see what happens from there.”
There was a certain tone to the summarisation offered by Teddy Grimthorpe, the racing manager to Khalid Abdullah, that suggested this might be the last time we get to see her on the track.
“Enable has given us so much, not only to Juddmonte and Prince Khalid but to the whole sport. She’s been such an important part of our lives and we have no complaints nor excuses,” Grimthorpe said on Sunday.
“It’s us who try to push her to do things. She’s happy and retained her enthusiasm. She loves racing, her routine, her life and Frankie too, just as he loves her.”
The End of an Era for an All-Time Great?
If this is the curtain call, Enable leaves behind a legacy that will stand the test of time.
Her three-year-old season would have been enough to land her in the racing hall of fame: wins in the Arc, the King George and the Epsom and Irish Oaks is about as good as a campaign can get.
That set the tone for a 12-race winning streak which also took in successful defences of her Arc and King George crowns, as well as a repeat victory in the Yorkshire Oaks and a momentous win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
In the end, it was only quality campaigners in Waldgeist and Ghaiyyath that were able to end her dominance, and even as a six-year-old she was able to clinch a hat-trick of King George victories and a repeat success in the September Stakes.
Frankie Dettori has been on board for all of her major successes, and he is perhaps better placed than anyone to comment on this remarkable horse.
“I love horses, but I love her more than the rest because she takes me emotionally to places other horses can’t,” the Italian said back in July 2019.
“Look at the races we have won together, the biggest races in the world, it is phenomenal. I have tears in my eyes every time I ride her because she has character.”
Full List of Enable’s 19 Race Career
The table below show’s all nineteen of Enable’s races up to and including the 2020 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
|4/10/20||Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe||Longchamp||6th||–|
|25/7/20||King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes||Ascot||1st||£227k|
|6/10/19||Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe||Longchamp||2nd||£1.03m|
|27/7/19||King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes||Ascot||1st||£709k|
|3/11/18||Breeders’ Cup Turf||Churchill Downs||1st||£1.63m|
|7/10/18||Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe||Longchamp||1st||£2.53m|
|1/10/17||Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe||Chantilly||1st||£2.44m|
|29/7/17||King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes||Ascot||1st||£652k|
|28/11/16||Maiden Fillies’ Stakes||Newcastle||1st||£2.9k|