Magazine article The Spectator

The Turf: Robin Oakley

Magazine article The Spectator

The Turf: Robin Oakley

Article excerpt

Khalid Abdullah, John Gosden and Frankie Dettori -- owner, trainer and jockey -- already figured among the great names of racing. After this year's Qipco-sponsored King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes they were joined in the pantheon by Enable, the astonishing filly who has been the prime focus of their attentions this year. As she stood in the winner's enclosure, her flanks heaving with the effort but her intelligent eye still flickering around the gathering of racing's great and good, both she and we had no doubt that we were in the presence of equine greatness. She has huge ability, she has guts and she has presence.

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the first clash over a mile-and-a-half between the three-year-olds contesting the year's Classics and their elders, is crucial to racing's pecking order and although none of this year's Derby winners in England, Ireland or France had turned up for the contest we knew it promised something special. Up against the flying filly there was Aidan O'Brien's battle-hardened five-year-old Highland Reel, the accumulator of more than£5 million from races in England, Ireland, France, Hong Kong, the USA and Australia, who won the 2016 King George and this year's Coronation Cup. Joining Enable from the Gosden yard in Newmarket was Jack Hobbs, winner of the Irish Derby two years ago, and this year's Sheema Classic in Dubai. Sir Michael Stoute, five times a winning trainer in the King George, was represented by the four-year-old Ulysses, winner of Sandown's Eclipse Stakes, this year's first contest of the generations, and to add spice there was the Argentinian-based Sixties Song, the best horse in South America. Enable herself had already won boththe Oaks at Epsom and, just two weeks earlier, the Irish Oaks, both by considerable margins.

On a soaking wet turf, racing in a miserable mist, Enable demonstrated once again that she has that prime quality sought by trainers and breeders everywhere: she loves to race. Both Highland Reel and Jack Hobbs briefly tried to take her on, but early in the straight, with the Irish horses out in the middle of the track looking for slightly better ground, Frankie Dettori gave his filly the signal and she simply exploded away from the field to win by four-and-a-half lengths. At the end only Ulysses had his head down chasing her: it was a performance that reminded one of spectacular King George victories such as those of Montjeu and Daylami. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.