John Gosden is taking nothing for granted despite Enable appearing to face a relatively straightforward task on what is set to be her British swansong in the Unibet September Stakes at Kempton on Saturday.
The dual Arc heroine was kept in training as a six-year-old with the primary objective of becoming the first three-time winner of Europe’s premier middle-distance contest, having been denied by Waldgeist when bidding for the hat-trick last year.
After chasing home Ghaiyyath on her reappearance in the Coral-Eclipse, Enable appeared back to her brilliant best when landing a historic third win in the King George at Ascot in July, after which she was expected to head to the Ebor Festival at York.
However, with a return to Paris at the forefront of their minds, connections opted to instead run in the same all-weather Group Three event the great mare won en route to Arc glory in 2018.
The top-class Crystal Ocean was among her beaten rivals two years ago – and while there is perhaps nothing of his calibre in the field this weekend, Gosden said: “I always respect the opposition – I’ve learnt down the years you better!”
The Clarehaven handler added: “We made no secret of the fact it took a while for her to get to her racing weight and match fitness this year, but it was a great run in the Eclipse and we all saw what she did in the King George.
“We let her down after Ascot and brought her back up again. The timing has worked well and this race also works well on timing in that it’s nicely four weeks from the Arc.
“We’re happy with her and it’s all about trying to set her up for the Arc.”
With Frankie Dettori in the saddle, Enable will be long odds-on to continue her march towards ParisLongchamp with a 15th career victory from 18 starts.
“I rode Enable on Wednesday. She did a nice piece of work by herself and we’re all set for the September Stakes,” Dettori said in his Sporting Index blog.
“She’s obviously well clear of the field on ratings and I’ll use my instinct on the day as to how much I have to push her.
“She felt very straightforward on the gallops and this should be a nice stepping stone to the Arc. The timing is good, it’s worked before and fingers crossed the dream is still alive after the weekend.
“The sad thing is that nobody is going to be there to give her the reception she deserves on her final race in the UK, but I suppose they’ll all be tuning in on the telly.”
The second best horse on the book is the Charlie Fellowes-trained Prince Of Arran, who receives 4lb from Enable but is rated 15lb inferior.
The globetrotting gelding has finished third and second in the last two renewals of the Melbourne Cup and a return to Australia is once again top of his agenda.
So far this year Prince Of Arran has finished third in Saudi Arabia, third in the Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle and sixth behind Enable’s esteemed stablemate Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Fellowes said: “He’s in good form, he loves Kempton, but this is very much a stepping stone to bigger things – quite like the horse we all have to beat.
“He’s had a bit of a break since Ascot, where he absolutely loathed the soft ground, and he’s a seven-year-old now and does take a bit of getting fit.
“Enable is going to have to lose a leg to get beat – and no one wants that to happen – but I’d be quite happy to spoil the party by some miracle.
“He’s not 100 per cent, but he’s fit enough to run a good race, like he did last year.
“We want him in top form for the first Tuesday in November. The plan is to have one run in Australia and then on to the Melbourne Cup.”
Andrew Balding saddles Fox Tal, while David O’Meara’s Tinandali and David Simcock’s Almania both carry the colours of Australian Bloodstock.
James Fanshawe’s Kirstenbosch and Richard Hughes-trained outsider Punting complete the seven-strong line-up.