July 24, 2024

Enable fends off Crystal Ocean in King George VI and Queen Elizabeth thriller

Two-time Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) queen Enable ran her way into the history books by completing the Arc/Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) double in the same year at Churchill Downs on November 3, 2018, under Frankie Dettori (Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

After one of the great stretch battles in race history, Enable secured a second victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1) at Ascot on Saturday by a neck, the third horse to accomplish the feat and the first to do so in non-consecutive years in England’s premier weight-for-age event.

Held up near the back from her wide draw, Enable made her bid entering the long straight, was on even terms with last year’s King George runner-up Crystal Ocean much of the way to the line, and edged clear to prevail in the pulsating duel while generally only being shown the stick by regular rider Frankie Dettori.

The winning margin was a neck with Waldgeist a length behind in third. Among the other notables in the field of 11 was Epsom Derby (G1) winner Anthony Van Dyck, who finished 10th.

“She’s everything you ever want,” trainer John Gosden said of Enable, a five-year-old daughter of Nathaniel. “The draw rather affected her, she was suddenly very wide, so Frankie dropped back further than he wanted.

“She’s a brave and wonderful filly, and what a great battle with Crystal Ocean. It’s what you wanted to see.”

A homebred campaigned by Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, Enable completed the about 1 1/2 mile-trip in 2:32.42 on ground labeled good-to-soft.

A third generation King George winner (2011 winner Nathaniel was sired by 2001 winner Galileo), Enable also captured the King George in 2017 at age three. The filly Dahlia (1973-74) and Swain (1997-98) were the previous two-time winners.

Enable has now won 12 of 13 starts, the last 11 in succession. Nine of those wins have come at Group 1 level, including the last two editions of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). Her primary objective is an unprecedented third Arc win at Longchamp in early October.

Enable claimed victory in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs. She earned an automatic entry into this year’s Turf at Santa Anita winning the King George, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge event.

The super mare is two-for-two this season after capturing the Eclipse (G1) at Sandown earlier this month. Her other top-level tallies include the Epsom Oaks (G1), Irish Oaks (G1), and Yorkshire Oaks (G1), all back in 2017.