It may not have been all plain sailing for Enable in her bid to repeat her victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – but her team are full of hope for the trip to Paris following her stunning comeback at Kempton.
Making her first appearance for almost a year and up against King George runner-up Crystal Ocean, Enable showed all her old enthusiasm on the Polytrack last month to run out an easy winner.
Drawn in stall six this weekend, the daughter of Nathaniel is the red-hot favourite to provide John Gosden with a third Arc in four years, and give Frankie Dettori a sixth success – having already become the most successful jockey in the race’s history last year.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “We’ll know if stall six is a good draw on Sunday evening!
“I always think we spend so much time talking about the draw and the ground and they are the two things we can do absolutely nothing about, completely out of our control.
“As it is, we’d have to be happy with stall six, though.”
When told Andre Fabre had compared taking on Enable to coming up against Barcelona and Manchester City combined – with Frankie Dettori in the starring Lionel Messi role, Grimthorpe quipped: “Well I hope he (Dettori) hits the target.”
The injury which kept Enable out for the first half of the campaign is now viewed as an annoyance more than anything else, with everything going to plan since then.
Grimthorpe said: “It hasn’t been a rushed year, well, this part of it hasn’t. It’s been a shortened year, but probably at the right end.
“Everything from the summer onwards has gone very well, she’s been straightforward in every way.
“You can make of it what you will that she made her return at Kempton, but it was still very satisfactory from the point of view that she hadn’t run since October (last year).
“It was pleasing to see how much she enjoyed it, so we’re going into the race positively.”
Whether she runs again, principally at the Breeders’ Cup, will not be decided until after Sunday’s race.
“I think the Breeders’ Cup is a question for Prince Khalid first of all, but it’s one to think about after the race rather than now. It’s not that you can’t think about these things, but you have to concentrate on Sunday first,” said Grimthorpe.
Sea Of Class is seen as Enable’s main danger following her wins in the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks, although she has apparently not fared quite as well in the draw with stall 15.
And while Team Enable have plenty of experience of the Arc, for William Haggas it is just a second ever runner after his Derby winner Shaamit came up short.
“Her owner, Mrs Tsui, has had two runners in the Arc – Urban Sea, who won, and the second was Sea The Stars, who also won, so she’s got an unblemished record,” Haggas told At The Races.
“Mine is very blemished, I’ve had one runner in the Arc, Shaamit, who finished eighth and got injured in the race, so I’d like to have another go and it’s nice to go there with a chance.
“We were very pleased with her at York, as we were at the Curragh, but obviously she’s got bigger fish to fry now.
“But, she has a change of speed and that is as crucial as anything in a horse race.
“The great thing about her was she won two Listed races, but then missed her Group Three and Group Two and went straight into a Classic.
“She was asked to do quite a lot at the Curragh in coming from where she did, but she managed it.
“After that, the next option against fillies was the Yorkshire Oaks against her elders and she was impressive again.
“Obviously, it is very competitive and my friend and rival up the Bury Road (Gosden) has a great chance, he’d like lots of rain whereas I’d like none.
“There are also lots of other horses – the Arc is always a championship race.”