Things We Learned » Enab’le be back

Enab’le be back

So, she’ll be back.  It’s great news.  The 2019 flat season was a much better place for Enable’s presence and, all going well, it looks like the 2020 season will be similarly enhanced.

It would have been easy to retire her, send her off to the paddocks and plan for her first foal, so it’s brilliant that Prince Khalid Abdullah has decided to race on with her.  It’s great for racing. 

There is a sense of unfinished business at Longchamp, business that she will now, all going well, have the opportunity to finish.  She may yet become the first horse to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe three times.  Just when we thought that she had missed her opportunity.

It’s not about commercials, but it’s not that this decision does not make commercial sense.  Enable raced four times this season and, in winning the Eclipse and the King George and the Yorkshire Oaks, and in finishing second in the Arc, she amassed a total of over £2.4 million in prize money.  Not that her first foal would be sold but, in theory, would he or she be worth much more that £2.4 million, net of the (theoretical) stallion fee?

More than that though, it’s about the enjoyment of watching her race.  If racing fans are so enthralled by her, think how the person who owns her feels when she races.

It will be interesting to see what programme she follows next year.  You know that John Gosden will start at Longchamp in October and work back.  An identical programme to this year’s would make sense: Eclipse, King George, Yorkshire Oaks, Arc.  She was busier in 2017, she raced six times that year before she won the Arc, but she won the Arc on the back of just one prep race last year.  She can do it either way.

Perhaps Ireland will feature in her plans next year, you never know.  She has never raced at Royal Ascot so, if they do want to go and win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh on Irish Guineas weekend could be a good starting point for her.  Alternatively or additionally, the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September is ideally timed with an eye on the Arc.

How far will Pinatubo go?

Will Pinatubo get a mile and a half?

You can make the case for.  Four of his six wins have been over seven furlongs, two of them at the highest level, and you would never say, based on his racing style, that he wouldn’t get further than that.  He will surely get a mile all right.

His dam is the Dalakhani mare Lava Flow, who was trained by Andre Fabre to win a listed race at Longchamp over a mile and three furlongs.  Also positive.  And she has already produced Antisana, whose sole win was gained over a mile and a half. 

There is plenty of stamina in the Godolphin colt’s pedigree.  Lava Flow is a half-sister to Alborz, who won over a mile and a quarter on the flat and who won twice over two miles over hurdles on soft ground, and to Hunterview, who won over a mile and a half on the flat and who won three times over two miles over hurdles.  Also, his grandam is Mount Elbrus, who won twice over 10 furlongs, and she is a half-sister to Joy Box, who won a bumper over two miles.

Pinatubo is by Shamardal who, outstanding sire though he is, is not renowned for stamina.  He won the Dewhurst as a juvenile, and he won the French 2000 Guineas as a three-year-old before stepping up in trip to win the Prix du Jockey Club, the first 10-and-a-half-furlong Prix du Jockey Club.  His last run was in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot at York, back down to a mile, which he duly won. 

The Kildangan Stud stallion’s progeny’s strike rate over distances from five furlongs to 11 furlongs is over 15%.  At 12 furlongs and further it’s less than 11%. 

But they can go 12 furlongs at the highest level.  Mukhadram finished a good third behind Taghrooda and Telescope in the 2014 King George.  Dariyan finished third behind Highland Reel and Flintshire in the Hong Kong Vase in 2015.  But even those two had better form over 10 furlongs.  Mukhadram won the Eclipse over 10 furlongs and Dariyan won the Prix Ganay over 10 and a half.  Also, Hazapour won the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial but came up short in the Derby last year before dropping back to a mile this season and winning the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes.

There is hope for a mile and a half though.  Balios won a King Edward VII Stakes, Hidden Gold won five times over a mile and a half or further, Dubai Prince won four times over hurdles and twice over fences.  Tarnawa could today add a Fillies & Mares Stakes to her Give Thanks Stakes. 

Pinatubo is favourite for next year’s Guineas of course, but he is also favourite for next year’s Derby.  It will be really interesting to see how far he will go, and how far he will be asked to go. 

Worthwhile Challenge

Make A Challenge is a fascinating runner at Ascot today.  It is only four and a half months since Denis Hogan’s horse won a handicap at Fairyhouse off a mark of 68.  Now he is towards the head of the market in the Group 1 British Champions Sprint Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot. 

Talk about meteors. 

Denis Hogan has done some job with him, and he has been the catalyst for the resurgence of jockey Joe Doyle, who is four for four on him now. 

It cost £40,000 to put the Invincible Spirit gelding into today’s race, but he earned more than that by winning his last two races.  He still has a little bit to find, his rating of 111 leaves him the joint third lowest-rated horse in today’s line-up, and he is 8lb lower than the top-rated Advertise. 

That said, he remains progressive.  He has won five of his last six races and he has finished second in the other one, and his performance last Sunday at The Curragh was another career best.  He could go higher still.  With £330,693 for the winner of today’s race and prize money down to sixth, it’s a good bet about a horse who is as short as 5/1 in places and no bigger than 7/1 anywhere.

Familiar names

There are some familiar names in this evening’s Grand National Hurdle at Far Hills in New Jersey. 

There’s Jury Duty for starters, last year’s winner who will, once again, be ridden by Robbie Power.  And there’s The Storyteller who is, like Jury Duty, trained by Gordon Elliott, and who will be ridden by Davy Russell. 

There is also the Willie Mullins-trained pair Wicklow Brave, with Paul Townend up, and Pravalaguna, who will be widen by Danny Mullins, who won the race two years ago on the Jack Fisher-trained Mr. Hot Stuff.  And there’s sole British-trained challenger, Brain Power, for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville. 

There are other familiar names, like Rashaan, who won 13 of his 41 races for Colin Kidd, on the flat, over fences and over hurdles, including the Grade 2 Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle at Fairyhouse last April, who will be racing for the first time for Leslie Young. 

And The Holy One, who dead-heated for third place only eight weeks ago in Due Reward’s beginners’ chase at Killarney for Jessica Harrington, who will be making his debut for Ricky Hendriks and who will be ridden by Paddy Kennedy, who won a novices’ handicap hurdle on him at Fairyhouse last April.  

And Redicean, who won the Adonis Hurdle for Alan King last year before going off at 7/1 for Farclas’ Triumph Hurdle, and Modem, who finished fourth in Clondaw Warrior’s Galway Hurdle in 2016 when he was with Jessica Harrington and who beat Rathvinden to win his beginners’ chase, and Scorpiancer, maybe vaguely familiar, who won his point-to-point for Eugene O’Sullivan in 2014 before joining Rebecca Curtis, and Moscato, who finished fourth in Jennie’s Jewel’s Ascot Stakes in 2016 when he was with Sir Mark Prescott. 

And the prize money is not that far off Champion Hurdle territory.  Well worth the trip.

© The Irish Field, 19th October 2019