The Coral-Eclipse Stakes: Mighty mare Enable seeks to return with a bang at Sandown

Sat 6 Jul 2019

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Enable is an odds-on favourite with the sponsors to make a winning return as she faces seven rivals for her seasonal return in Saturday's Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

John Gosden’s superstar filly has been off the track since winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs last November, with that run only the third of her 2018 campaign after winning a Kempton Group Three and her second Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The five-year-old’s ultimate target is a third victory in the ParisLongchamp feature in October, however Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, insists that longer-term plans are not the reason for her belated return this year.

He said: “It wasn’t the fact that the Arc is her big target why we missed Ascot, it was more the fact we’ve had to wait for her to tell us that she was ready to run.

“Certainly her last few bits of work have said that.

Frankie Dettori discusses Enable ahead of her return

“She beat Crystal Ocean first time out after a long break last year. It’s like everything, she’s got a campaign in front of her and it’s a question of balance.

“All being well, I’m sure John and Prince Khalid will be looking at the King George next.”

Enable will not have it all her own way in Saturday’s 10-furlong Group One, though, with Magical the pick of two runners for Aidan O’Brien.

The four-year-old was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Enable in America, and has won three of her four starts so far this term, chasing home Crystal Ocean at Royal Ascot last time out.

Sir Michael Stoute gives his views on his two runnners

O’Brien said: “She seems to be in good form. Obviously she only ran at Ascot and we haven’t done a lot with her since then, but she seems to be in good form.

“She’s run four times now this season and we’ve been very happy with each run. She ran a very good race at Ascot.

“We’ll take it one race at a time with her. It’s very possible she could have a break after this, but we’ll see how she is.

“We were going to give her a break after Ascot, but she came out of the race very well.

“With the autumn in mind she’s going to have to have a break sometime and it’s very possible it could be after this, but we’ll discuss that after the race.”

Kerrin McEvoy talks about his chances on Regal Reality

Hunting Horn also takes his chance for the Ballydoyle team, after finishing fourth at Ascot last month.

Brigadier Gerard winner Regal Reality takes the step up to the top level for Sir Michael Stoute, who has an outstanding record in this contest, after his comfortable success at Sandown last time out - although that victory didn't come without a pre-race drama or two.

Chris Richardson, Managing Director at Cheveley Park, admitted: “He had a ‘moment’ that evening but things slightly went against him, as far as he was concerned. He’s a horse who likes routine and on that occasion he was being asked to come into the paddock at a moment there was a horse coming out, and it just upset his rhythm.

“If you change his routine a home, including on gallops, it can be the same, but he’s hugely talented and it did not affect him once the race got under way. He was impressive and Sir Michael is of the opinion that he deserves to take his chance.

“By all standards it’s a very competitive race against some significant opposition, but the horse is in great form and has performed positively at the track. I think moving up to a mile and a quarter suited him last time and I know Sir Michael feels it is going to be his advantage going forwards.”

Our experts put Regal Reality's victory in the Brigadier Gerard under the microscope__

He added: “The Eclipse is one of Mr and Mrs Thompson’s favourite races and they are delighted to have a runner, and to be participating. One has to be respectful of a very strong field and Enable is a deserved favourite, but if you are not in you can’t win and at the end of the day we are not going to run away from one.”

Stoute has a second string to his bow in Lockinge winner Mustashry, who switches up in distance.

The six-year-old won his first Group One in the Lockinge, but could not follow up in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“He came out (of Royal Ascot) very well. He disappointed me slightly. He wasn’t at his very best, didn’t seem to really fire but his weight loss was at a minimal. We’ve been happy with him,” said Stoute.

“He is very consistent in his home work – he’s a competitor, he loves doing what he does.”

Mustashry has tasted Group One glory over a mile this season
Mustashry has tasted Group One glory over a mile this season

Angus Gold, racing manager for owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, added: “He’s only had one race over 10 and won it, they’ve always felt he’d stay further than a mile.

“Obviously we’re taking on the very best but something has to run against her. Michael has been happy with the horse since Ascot where he felt the ground was just a bit easy for him.

“He has always wanted a little bit further than a mile, he got away with it in the Lockinge as he’d had a run and the others hadn’t.

“Stepping up to a mile and a quarter should hopefully help him travel through the race a little better.

“He’s admirably tough and consistent and, as Michael said, he’s a six-year-old gelding so let’s have some fun.”

Should either Regal Reality or Mustashry triumph, Stoute would set a new record of seven wins after the triumphs of Opera House (1993), Ezzoud (1994), Pilsudski (1996), Medicean (2001), Notnowcato (2007) and Ulysses (2017).

Derby disappointment Telecaster will try to recapture the kind of form that saw him win the Dante at York in May.

Relive Telecaster's game victory in the Dante

Hughie Morrison, his trainer, told Qipco British Champion Series: “Epsom probably came too soon for him and the course was probably not to his liking. He is bursting with energy at home, so we thought we’d better run him.

“He’s a horse who has got a lot of ability and we look forward to a good run – I just hope he turns up. He didn’t at Epsom and there was no reason to think that he wouldn’t, other than he had not had enough time to recover from a hard race 16 days before in the Dante, as well as the fact that he was an immature horse who’d had three races in the spring. We had that doubt in our mind.

“Will we get the horse which ran in the Dante on Saturday, or the one who ran in the Derby? He doesn’t give you any outward signs of the contrary. It’s pretty unnerving and it would be easy to bottle it, but he looks well, is working well and opportunities like this do not come along very often, so off you go.”

He added: “Japan franked the Dante form and I’d argue Too Darn Hot ran his best race of the season there. The form is good, the horse is good, but he’s young and immature.

“Mentally, he’s always been strong-willed and he keeps himself fit, I think we knew that after winning his maiden at Windsor. He never really done any serious work before the Derby, or after it. He obviously learnt a lot at Windsor, otherwise he would not have won the Dante the way he did.”

Prix d’Ispahan winner Zabeel Prince tries his luck again for Roger Varian after finishing down the field in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

David Menuisier’s Danceteria completes the field, after winning a French Group Three last time.

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