Things We Learned » Enable back

Enable back

It was great to see Enable back.  It was great to see her win the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday like she did, on her seasonal debut.

Racing needs its stars.  It is the athletes that attract the attention.  The familiar names.  Federer and Nadal and Djokovic and Williams, for the week that’s in it.  It is the big names with which the people identify.  They are the reasons why the peripheral viewer tunes in.  And the fact that Enable (big name) had Dettori (big name) for company was no harm whatsoever. 

It will be fascinating to track Enable’s progress now through the season, a season that will, all going well, culminate in her attempt to land an historic and unprecedented third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Classic generation

The quality of the middle-distance three-year-olds is a conundrum that we usually try to solve before we have a body of evidence that is deep enough.

They finished in a bunch in the Epsom Derby, the first five separated by three parts of a length, and we said that they can’t all be outstanding.  Then Derby sixth Circus Maximus dropped down to a mile and won the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, and we said that maybe they are good.  Then Epsom third Japan danced in in the King Edward VII Stakes, and we said that it was probably a good Derby after all.

Then Epsom Derby 10th Sovereign beat Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and Epsom Derby second Madhmoon and Epsom Derby fourth Broome and Epsom Derby eighth Norway in the Irish Derby at The Curragh, and we reverted to the conclusion that was reached before the Epsom Derby runners were unsaddled. 

The first point in the year at which we really get a chance to assess the quality of the Classic crop is when they meet their elders in the Eclipse, but Telecaster was the only three-year-old who ran in the Sandown race this year, last Saturday, and he underperformed in finishing seventh of eight behind Enable. 

Next up: the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in two weeks’ time, where it looks like Anthony Van Dyck and Sovereign will take on Enable and Crystal Ocean and Defoe.  That race will provide us with another piece of evidence, but we may not be able to ascertain the quality of this year’s three-year-olds for sure until 6th October, until after the Prix de I’Arc de Triomphe has been run.

Sad about Class

It was sad news about Sea Of Class.  Sad that we won’t get to see her race again. 

The Sea The Stars filly was one of the shining lights of the 2018 flat season.  Expertly managed and conditioned by William Haggas, she won her two listed races, then her trainer resisted the lure of the Epsom Oaks in early June.  Instead, he took her over to The Curragh the following month and, under one of the best rides that we saw all season, a no-whip hands-and-heels-only masterclass by James Doyle, won the Irish Oaks by a neck.  Then she went to York and beat her elders in the Yorkshire Oaks. 

One of the biggest talking points of 2018 centred on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: would Sea Of Class have beaten Enable if she had raced from stall six and Enable had raced from stall 15, instead of the other way around?  Was the difference in their draws enough to make the difference of the short neck by which Enable held on?

For all that Sea Of Class achieved on the racecourse last year, she had unfinished business in the Arc.  The re-match between those two top class fillies was one of the points towards which the season was threatening to funnel.  Alas, it won’t happen now.  You have to feel for William Haggas and his team, and for her rider James Doyle.  Hopefully Mrs Tsui’s filly can make a full recovery now because she obviously has the potential to be a top class broodmare.

Lordan’s season continues

Wayne Lordan’s season continues.  On Thursday, he rode Royal Lytham in the Group 2 Tattersalls July Stakes at Newmarket, he wore the Michael Tabor silks and the blue cap, not the blue and orange striped cap, and he got home by a short head.  Then he came back to Leopardstown on Thursday evening and, wearing the blue and orange striped cap this time, he won the Group 3 Stanerra Stakes on Peach Tree. 

Lordan has generally been good for at least one Group 1 winner a year in recent years.  In 2013, he won the Phoenix Stakes on the David Wachman-trained Sudirman.  In 2014, he won the Diamond Jubilee and the July Cup on the Eddie Lynam-trained Slade Power.  In 2015, he won the Nassau Stakes and the Matron Stakes on Legatissimo, again for David Wachman. 

In 2017, he won the 1000 Guineas on Winter and the Matron Stakes on Hydrangea, both for Aidan O’Brien.  In 2018, he won the Fillies’ Mile on Iridessa for Joseph O’Brien.  And this year, he has won the 1000 Guineas on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Hermosa and the Pretty Polly Stakes on old friend Iridessa.  The Group 1 ball started to roll with Sole Power, the 100/1 winner of the Nunthorpe Stakes in 2010, and only one year has gone by in the last seven in which Wayne Lordan has not ridden at least one Group 1 winner.  It’s a fine record. 

See Double You rolls back the years 

Great scenes at Roscommon on Tuesday evening when See Double You won the Leo Dolan Memorial Hurdle. 

Ordinary 16-year-olds don’t win horse races.  But See Double You is no ordinary 16-year-old, and you could see how much it meant to his trainer and owner Ronan McNally.  He had his horse in tremendous form, and the Saddlers’ Hall gelding stayed on strongly under a fine ride from Darragh O’Keeffe, who is just three years older than his partner.

The Ladys Master won a two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Tipperary in September 1987 as a 16-year-old, but no horse aged 16 or older had won a race in Ireland since.  Until Tuesday evening.

© The Irish Field, 13th July 2019