JOHN GOSDEN’S caution is understandable as horse of the year Enable puts her reputation on the line in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks – the Ebor festival’s day two highlight.
Two years ago his acclaimed Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn was sensationally beaten by 50-1 outsider Arabian Queen and Enable has little to win, and everything to lose, after landing the English and Irish Oaks before beating the colts in Ascot’s King George.
Like Golden Horn, Enable will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. “We always wanted to go to this race,” said Gosden. “It was meant to be Irish Oaks to Yorkshire Oaks. She took the Irish Oaks so much in her stride that then the King George came into play.
“When you are lucky enough to have a Golden Horn in the yard or a filly of Enable’s ilk – like Taghrooda – it’s a great buzz. But of course with it comes added pressures – never forget that.”
Sir Michael Stoute will be double-handed in his bid to claim a record-breaking 10th triumph in the race after declaring both last year’s Breeders’ Cup winner Queen’s Trust and multiple Listed scorer Abingdon. Neither will have been entered to make up the numbers.
Meanwhile, Roger Varian expects Madeline to be among those fighting out the finish in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes.
The daughter of Kodiac, who finished fifth in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, will bid to give her Newmarket handler a first win in the six-furlong Group Two prize by backing up her recent Listed success at Newbury over the same trip.
Varian said: “She is in great form and has done nothing but impress us all year and she goes to the Lowther as a very lively contender. She is versatile ground wise. She is a good filly and deserves to be near the head of the market.”