A place in racing history as the first three-time winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will be the ultimate aim for Enable after connections announced she will stay in training in 2019.
Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah has decided to roll the dice again with the daughter of Nathaniel, whose truncated three-race campaign this year saw her win a second Arc at ParisLongchamp before following up in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.
Enable became the first Arc winner to triumph at the American showpiece in the same season with her gutsy success in Kentucky – and Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe is looking forward to enjoying another season with the seven-time Group One winner.
He said: “I think Prince Khalid wanted time to reflect on the Arc and Breeders’ Cup and time to enjoy it before he started to think about the following year.
“Obviously it was important that she was in good shape when she came back. She checked out really well, so from that point of view it gave us the encouragement to go on.”
As it stands, Enable is one of eight dual winners of the Arc in its illustrious 98-year history, and Grimthorpe is under no illusions about what a third triumph would represent for the John Gosden-trained filly.
He added: “A third Arc would certainly be a challenge to say the very least, but that’s what racing is all about – taking these challenges.
“I think if we’d had a full year this year, it would be hard to say what might have happened, but she only had one race as a two-year-old, a full season at three and then just three runs this year, so there are not too many miles on the clock.
“She still enjoys her racing, so she will be given her chance to make a bit of history.”
Enable’s campaign will be geared around another trip to France next October – but Grimthorpe underlined the team are not mapping out her route back to Paris just yet. He said: “Obviously the main mile-and-a-quarter and mile-and-a-half races would be what we are looking at, but the Arc remains her primary target.”
Joe Tizzard, meanwhile, is savouring the prospect of an early-season showdown between Native River and Might Bite in Saturday’s Betfair Chase at Haydock.
The duo, trained by Tizzard’s father Colin and Nicky Henderson respectively, went toe-to-toe in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last term – with Native River proving four-and-a-half lengths too good after an enthralling battle.
Native River enjoyed an extended break following that gutsy triumph, while Might Bite went on to notch a seven-length success in the Betway Bowl at Aintree, and assistant trainer Tizzard is eager to see how the pair shape up on their seasonal bows.
He said: “Of course we are (looking forward to taking on Might Bite). It was a hell of a duel in the Gold Cup, and I’m glad we came out on top.
“It was good to watch. It was nice to see Might Bite bounce back at Aintree and slaughter the rest that day, because it just franks the form even more.
“It is nice to have those two competing all the time, and it would be great for racing and great for us.
“We have got massive respect for him, but we are not going to hide away from him. We are looking forward to it.
“Native River handles Newbury well, and Haydock has a nice galloping straight, so he can wind it up a long way out. He has been pretty good around a lot of tracks.”
While Native River is undoubtedly the Tizzard team’s number one hope, they have an admirable second string in Thistlecrack – an impressive winner of the 2016 King George VI Chase who has had his problems since.
The 10-year-old was forced to bypass an intended run in last month’s Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby because of the quick ground.