Enable all set for 'tall order' in King George

Gosden reports brilliant mare ‘happy and well’

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John Gosden reports Enable in prime condition as he prepares the brilliant mare for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Enable will bid to become only the third horse to win the mid-summer showpiece twice.

While Dahlia (1973-74) and Swain (1997-98) were successful in consecutive years, Gosden’s dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine has to regain the crown she earned in brilliant fashion in 2017 – because she was not ready to defend last July.

Enable is firmly on course for Saturday’s mile-and-a-half feature this time, however, after making a scintillating seasonal debut in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown earlier this month.

Gosden has been delighted with her in the relatively short time since that race.

Speaking at a press morning at Newmarket, the trainer said: “At Sandown I thought she ran a lovely race.

“Frankie (Dettori) popped himself in the correct position, and she probably won with a little bit in hand.

“The Eclipse is close enough, but you are getting three weeks. We’ve been pleased with her since then, and she has just done routine work.

“She worked on Saturday with Frankie on her. We were going to go on the grass – but we didn’t get enough rain, so we breezed on the all-weather.

“She seems happy and well for what is a tall order.”

Investec Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck, Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Crystal Ocean and Coronation Cup victor Defoe are all set to line up against Enable, with 11 horses standing their ground at the five-day confirmation stage.

Gosden said: “I see the betting industry has put her at a price at which they don’t want anyone to be backing her. I’m sure the pricing of her is not realistic of her chances but of them trying to protect themselves, I suppose, if she does win.

“She won it as a three-year-old filly getting the weight, just as Taghrooda did.

“It is a little different when you are older and suddenly you have the Derby winner coming at you getting the weight and you have a wonderful old horse, Crystal Ocean, who ran a blinder in it last year and won the Prince of Wales’s, so this is no penalty kick.

“She will have come on for it (Sandown) and she is up for it, but I don’t think it is the formality that is being indicated.”

He added: “I think she is the best mile-and-a-half filly I’ve trained. It’s pretty extraordinary what she has done. She has done everything. I admired her a lot last year, coming back from injury.

“She wasn’t at her best in the Arc last year. When we went to America, suddenly she was coming back to her best. I think you have seen the best of her, but hopefully we can get through to the Arc.

“It’s a big ask, but she is proud and happy in herself.”

Sir Michael Stoute’s five-year-old Crystal Ocean was just touched off by stablemate Poet’s Word after an epic battle 12 months ago.

He has been in fine form this season, being unbeaten in three starts, culminating in his success at the Royal Ascot.

Trained by Roger Varian, Defoe, another five-year-old, was last seen at the Royal meeting, adding the Hardwicke Stakes to his Epsom triumph.

Along with Anthony Van Dyck, Aidan O’Brien can also call on Norway, Hunting Horn and Magic Wand.

An international flavour is added by Yasuo Tomomichi’s Japanese raider Cheval Grand, who was second to Old Persian in the Dubai Sheema Classic, and Hardwicke third Waldgeist from Andre Fabre’s stable in France.

Andrew Balding’s Morando and Sylvester Kirk’s Salouen, who was fourth 12 months ago, complete the list.

Enable all set for 'tall order' in King George
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