John Gosden hopes the decision to step Enbihaar up in trip is rewarded with victory in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York.
The five-year-old mare narrowly missed out on a first Group One win behind stablemate Anapurna in the Prix de Royallieu in October, and has been kept in training with the aim of making the breakthrough at the highest level.
The Sheikh Hamdan-owned filly won the Lillie Langtry for a second time at Goodwood last time out, and in the absence of Stradivarius Gosden is now relying on her over two miles.
“I suppose it was a big call keeping Enbihaar in training as a five-year-old, but she only just missed out on a Group One last year on Arc weekend,” said Gosden.
“She’s a big, powerful filly who enjoys her training, and her owner enjoys seeing her racing.
“She’s already won a second Lillie Langtry, and now we are trying something a bit different by running her in a new division. Jim (Crowley) got off her the other day and said that the extra two furlongs wouldn’t be a problem.
“It’s a nice Lonsdale, and there are some solid horses in there against her – like Nayef Road, who we know all about through Stradivarius – but she ought to have a good chance.”
Crowley feels Enbihaar’s Group One breakthrough is only a matter of time.
“I’m really looking forward to her – I think she’s a proper Group One mare when conditions are right,” he said.
“She has been so impressive over a mile and six furlongs. It’s her first time stepping up to two miles, but I think she’s crying out for it. She has this enormous stride – she sort of does one stride to everybody else’s two.
“She’s won at York before, and it looks a really good race for her, with John Gosden going down a different route with Stradivarius.
“The only thing I would say is she is probably a top-of-the-ground mare.”
Mark Johnston will be delighted that Stradivarius is not at the Knavesmire on Friday, having continuously found him standing in the way of Dee Ex Bee and now Nayef Road.
Nayef Road is his representative again, and he sets the standard based on his Ascot Gold Cup second.
“He would deserve it if he wins, that’s for sure,” said Johnston.
“He’s done absolutely nothing wrong in all his races this season.
“Unfortunately for him, he’s just come up against Stradivarius at Ascot and Goodwood – that’s all you can say.
“I think I’ve been second to Stradivarius five times now. Four of those have been in Group Ones- so he deserves his turn.”