John Gosden’s brilliant mare was narrowly denied in her bid to become the first three-time winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last season – and has been kept in training as a six-year-old with the primary objective of putting that right in Paris in October.
However, she first has the chance to make history this weekend, having become only the third dual King George winner – after Dahlia (1973 and 1974) and Swain (1997 and 1998) – when getting the better of a pulsating duel with Crystal Ocean 12 months ago.Flashback: Enable and team after landing the King George in 2017
Gosden told the media via a Zoom call hosted by QIPCO British Champions Series: “I did try and tell people very clearly beforehand that she was not at 100 per cent [for the Eclipse]. She tired in the last furlong but we were delighted with her run. I was very open with everybody that, being at the age she is now, she found it difficult to getting to race fitness; far more than ever before, even when she came back from injury as a four-year-old.
“She’s always been mentally hardened but what’s changed, with age, is her metabolism. Consequently, she never gained that tightness of the muscle like she normally would, it took her a lot longer. She’s a six-year-old racemare and not that wild, exuberant three-year-old race filly who could just do anything.
“I didn’t want to push her hard for the Eclipse. She knows what she wants to do: she’s very positive and a wonderfully filly to train in that that she is determined to do everything. So I just went with her. I wasn’t going to start pushing her and telling her what to do.
“The race has put her right and her work has been perfect on the Limekilns since. She’s been working with just one other horse, and I’ve let her lead a couple of works to just enjoy that for a change. She comes into this race in very good order.”
Asked if a couple of defeats indicated she may not be the fo rce she was, he said: “I’m of the viewpoint that a Flat horse, if sound and healthy, reaches its zenith at five. I’ve seen that a lot, particularly in America where we tend to race them longer. I still see her at her peak, maybe not quite the peak, but she’s trained beautifully for this.”
With Gosden deciding against running Enable’s stable companion Fanny Logan, each of her three rivals hail from Ballydoyle, with both trainers bidding to win the race for a fifth time.
Having been responsible for six of the eight entries for the race earlier in the week, O’Brien has whittled his team down to three, with Japan seemingly the stable’s first string under Ryan Moore.
Last year’s King Edward VII Stakes, Grand Prix de Paris and Juddmonte International winner was disappointing on his first start of 2020 in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, but raised his game to finish only a head behind Enable at Sandown three weeks ago.
O’Brien has also declared Anthony Van Dyck and Sovereign – winners of the Investec Derby at Epsom and the Irish Derby respectively last season. Oisin Murphy has been booked to partner Anthony Van Dyck, with William Buick taking the ride on Sovereign.
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