Enable given chance to create Breeders' Cup history with Arc and Turf double

She is a European star but can she earn her stripes in the United States?

That is the history-making challenge Enable was set on Tuesday, when it was revealed she will bid to become the first horse to follow an Arc victory with success at the Breeders' Cup.

Enable, photo Liesl King

Enable was cut to a best-priced 8-13 (from 8-11) for the Turf after it was announced she would compete at Churchill Downs on November 3, but the contest has proven an Arc winners' graveyard, with seven horses defeated since Dancing Brave – like Enable owned by Khalid Abdullah – was the first to try to follow victory in Paris with another in the Turf.

In all, eight Arc winners have been downed at the Breeders' Cup, with Sakhee runner-up in the 2001 Classic.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Abdullah, said on Tuesday: "The way Enable's season has panned out, this race is a logical progression. She's come out of the Arc fine, she seems to have recovered and taken it well. From that point of view we have to be very pleased with her.

"No Arc winner has won the Turf, but we're looking for positives. Most of them to try had a hard, tough season by the time they got to the Breeders' Cup."

Emphasising the difference between Enable's and Dancing Brave's campaigns, Grimthorpe remarked: "Dancing Brave had a Guineas preparation and he was going there having run not just a lifetime best, but a world best in the Arc, so it was just a bridge too far for him."

Dancing Brave remains the world's highest-rated horse since the inauguration of the International Classifications in 1977, receiving a figure of 141 for his sensational 1986 Arc victory.

Enable is officially rated 125 after displaying all the attributes that make her the leading lady in Europe when she landed a second Arc earlier this month at Longchamp in a thrilling finish that will also go down as one of the best in the race's storied history.

Whether the John Gosden-trained four-year-old will attempt to become the first horse to win three Arcs is a decision that will be made after the Breeders' Cup.

While the daughter of Nathaniel had a hard race in the Arc in beating fast-finishing Sea Of Class by a short neck, it was just her third run of the year and she was described as only 85 per cent fit by Gosden.

She had been sidelined after her 2017 Arc victory until September, when she made an impressive winning return on the all-weather at Kempton. 

Gosden's previous Arc winner Golden Horn was beaten at 4-6 in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Turf, and the trainer has yet to win the race, but Enable's jockey Frankie Dettori has an excellent record.

He has won it four times, most recently in 2010 on Dangerous Midge, one of his two Turf successes at Churchill Downs.


Year | Arc winner | Breeders’ Cup

2016 Found 3rd in Turf
2015 Golden Horn 2nd in Turf
2007 Dylan Thomas 5th in Turf
2001 Sakhee 2nd in Classic
1992 Subotica 5th in Turf
1990 Saumarez 5th in Turf
1987 Trempolino 2nd in Turf
1986 Dancing Brave 4th in Turf

A transatlantic flight will be a new challenge for Enable, though she is used to travelling via her exploits in the Arc and when winning the Irish Oaks at the Curragh last year.

"Air travel is an added dimension but she's a good-natured filly when it comes to that sort of thing," Grimthorpe added.

Expert under consideration

Abdullah's Expert Eye, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, is also under consideration for the Breeders' Cup, and Grimthorpe revealed the three-year-old will miss Saturday's Qipco British Champions Day meeting at Ascot. 

Expert Eye was a 9-1 shot for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes but could run in the Breeders' Cup Mile, for which he is 6-1 second favourite.

"He could be a possibility for the Breeders' Cup," said Grimthorpe. "He won't run on Saturday as the ground is too soft."

Exciting juveniles

Enable or not, next year already promises much for Abdullah, with the emergence of smart juveniles Sangarius and Calyx. 

Sangarius lost his unbeaten record when fourth in the Dewhurst at Newmarket last weekend, while one-time 2,000 Guineas favourite Calyx did not run again after winning the Coventry due to injury.

Grimthorpe said: "Sangarius ran a nice race in the Dewhurst, he's come out of it well and he'll come on and develop over the winter.

"Calyx has got to prove himself all over again. His form looks pretty strong, he's doing well and hopefully we'll see him back on track in the spring."