Things We Learned » Enable still special

Enable still special

It’s an over-used and inaccurate phrase, she lost nothing in defeat, because she did, she lost the race.  But Enable was brave and gallant and her reputation wasn’t tarnished an iota.

It is a pity that she didn’t win it.  We know that.  It would have been a special feat, three Arcs.  An achievement that would have been without precedent.  But Enable has won two Arcs and finished second in a third, and that’s also special.

Reasons for her defeat?  She probably wasn’t at her absolute pinnacle and Waldgeist was.  She didn’t travel with her usual verve.  The Racing Post Rating that she was awarded for Sunday’s performance is the lowest that she has been awarded since she won the Irish Oaks at The Curragh in July 2017.  

By contrast, Waldgeist’s was a career-high.  He is a top class horse, a quadruple Group 1 winner now himself.  We know that Andre Fabre is an Arc master, and he had his horse at concert pitch.

You can pick things apart when hindsight talks, and maybe the inside rail was not the place to be.  It may have been down to pace as much as down to track position, but winners finishing strongly down the outside was a common theme of the day. 

With the benefit of hindsight, you can say that she hit the front too early, off the fast pace and on the holding ground.  But it was a legitimate strategy.  She led at the two-furlong marker too when she won the Eclipse, she led at the two-furlong marker when she won the Breeders’ Cup Turf, she led at the two-furlong marker when she won her first Arc.  She made all when she won the Yorkshire Oaks.  On both occasions.

Also when Enable hit the front, she looked the most likely winner by far.  She traded at an in-running low of 1.07, that’s 1/14.  That’s how highly her chance was rated by the market when she hit the front.  The market didn’t think in real time that she had hit the front too early. 

She is still an extraordinary mare, she has won 13 of her 15 races, including 10 Group 1s.  Two Arcs, two King Georges, an Eclipse, a Breeders’ Cup Turf, and that’s still special.

Abbaye notes

Two notes on the Prix de l’Abbaye.  Firstly, the first seven home were drawn in seven of the lowest eight stalls, and eight of the first nine home were drawn in the lowest eight stalls, and nine of the first 10 home were drawn in the lowest nine stalls, and 10 of the first 11 home were drawn in the lowest 10 stalls. 

The high-drawn horse who got in among the low-drawn horses was Sestilio Jet, who finished eighth from stall 14.  And he was moved by Frankie Dettori onto the rail in behind horses at half way.  

Looks like the high-drawn horses were up against it.

And secondly, the winner, Glass Slippers, is a three-year-old.  Another three-year-old.  Actually, with So Perfect running on well to snatch second, the first two home were both (fillies and both) three-year-olds.  That’s three of the last four winners of the Abbaye now who were three years old, this in a race in which Total Gallery in 2009 was the only three-year-old winner between Carmine Lake in 1997 and Marsha, in 2016. 

 One in 18 years, then three in four years.  They’re like Irish heat waves.

Championship watch

Here’s the way the week went.  Last Friday morning, Colin Keane had 91 winners in the bag for the season, and Donnacha O’Brien had 89. 

On Friday evening, Keane rode two of the first three winners at Dundalk, while O’Brien won the fourth race.  93-90 on Friday night.

O’Brien went to Newmarket on Saturday and on to Longchamp on Sunday, while Keane drew a blank from three rides (8/1, 14/1 and 10/1) at Tipperary.  Still 93-90. 

They were both at Navan on Wednesday, where Keane rode two of the first three winners (95-90) and finished second on each of his other three rides, including on Chiricahua in the two-year-olds’ maiden over a mile, who finished second to Degraves, ridden by O’Brien.  95-91.  Then at Thurles on Thursday, O’Brien rode the first two winners while Keane drew a blank from three rides.

So yesterday morning, after all that, there were two in it again: 95-93.  O’Brien had five rides at Dundalk last night, while Keane sat it out.  It’s compelling viewing.

Rough Royallieu

Once again, there was an unsatisfactory conclusion to a high-profile race, the Group 1 Prix de Royallieu on Saturday.  Anapurna might have been the best filly in the race anyway, but she interfered with Delphinia and, indirectly, with Enbihaar and, under the old French rules, she would almost certainly have been disqualified.  It wasn’t an aesthetically pleasing finish but, sadly, as long as the rules favour the perpetrator and not the victim, they – maybe inadvertently or indirectly or unintentionally – encourage riders to ride like this.

Curtis on Kynren

Ben Curtis’ record on Kynren: 1113201 (4/7)

Everyone else’s record on Kynren: 3326522532 (0/10)

Quote of the week

 “Even my hack is by Shamardal.”

Andre Fabre

© The Irish Field, 12th October 2019