Enable has done it! She becomes the third horse besides Frankel and Ouija Board to receive the prestigious Cartier Horse of the Year twice after an unbelievable racing season where the five-year-old mare had won three G1 victories, and a slight miss in the G1 Qatar Prix de I’Arc de Triompe, Europe’s richest race. Enable also receives the Cartier Older Horse Of The Year award two years in a row.
Owned by Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms and trained by John Gosden in Newmarket the homebred had previously already set the bar for middle-distance horses prior to this past year. Enable had proven to be an exceptional filly at three-years-old and scooped up both Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly honors in 2017 after stringing five G1’s together capped off with an amazing victory in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The world had waited for her 2018 return to action as there was a delay in training due to a knee injury, however Enable impressed us all when she returned in fine fashion popping off three impressive wins that included an unprecedented second victory in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. She then flattered that performance when she arrived to the United States with a win in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. Enable was the first horse to complete what is termed to be the “trans-Atlantic double.” Enable captured 2018 Cartier Older Horse Of The Year however ended up being beaten out for Horse Of The Year honors by her late stablemate Roaring Lion.
The duo of Gosden and Dettori set out this year to repeat the same successes with a third shot at Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with a build up of prep races Enable made her debut in the G1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on July 6th. Cutting back in distance to which was her only previous defeat at Newbury as a three-year-old still her chances looked exceptional and was another rematch for her against Magical.
She faced an extremely talented field and Frankie Dettori had her settled close to the pace in second, Enable glided up and hit the front with a quarter of a mile to go and stayed on powerfully for an easy victory, beating Magical just as she did at Churchill Downs the previous November. Her victory was the first by a filly or mare in the Sandown Park G1 contest since Kooyonga in 1992.
Enables’ next start was at Royal Ascot on July 27th in the G1 King George VI & the Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes. A strong line-up for the 12-furlong midsummer highlight included Crystal Ocean, who had defeated Magical in the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, French challenger Waldgeist and leading three-year-old Anthony Van Dyck, winner of the G1 Investec Derby. Enable out wide early, Frankie Dettori elected to take further back than in the Coral-Eclipse and the duo started to make their run turning for home. Enable pushed up along side Crystal Ocean as the pair cruised by two-furlong pole, both horses pouring it on and separating themselves from the rest of the field. Crystal Ocean not giving an inch coming back at Enable with grit and determination as they blazed the Ascot strip Frankie Dettori and Enable willed themselves to win by a neck margin in what was such an unbelievable race.
Enable became the third dual winner of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, following on from Dahlia (1973 & 1974) and Swain (1997 & 1998).
With Longchamp clearly on the mind Gosden decided to stick with a mile and a half in the G1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks in August, facing just three others, Enable still had a tall task with old rival Magical among the competition. In fact, this proved not to be such a tall task after all as Enable went on to score a 2 and 3/4 length win over Magical putting the field away with ease.
Enables’ next focus was going to be Longchamp in October as she sought to capture a third Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The highly anticipated race featured highly regarded three-year-olds Sottsass, winner of the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club, and Juddmonte International winner in Japan. The older part of the filed included Magical, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes third Waldgeist and Ghaiyyath, who arrived to Longchamp after an eye popping 14-length domination in the G1 Longines Grosser Preis von Baden.
Enable went off very well tracking the leaders for much of the affair and made that powerful move to come alongside Magical with just under two furlongs to go. Enable shook loose clearing the field and it appeared as if this race was going to be one for the record books and then Waldgeist with an impressive turn of foot ran Enable down in the final strides to beat her at the wire. It was her first defeat in 13 starts, including a sensational 10 victories in G1 competition and her 2nd placing in an incredible 15 starts. After her defeat in the Arc there was a lot of chatter going on about the potential of retiring Enable and her days of racing may be well behind her however about a week and a half later the connections announced she would remain in training at 6 year-old.
Personally I cannot wait to see what this next racing season brings us. As for now lets celebrate a horse of a lifetime the daughter of Nathaniel and one of the classiest horses in the world, Enable. Here’s to Enable, Cartier Horse of The Year.