Having carried all before her this season, John Gosden’s Enable aims to finish it with a flourish in tomorrow’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly.
The English, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks are already in the bag, as well as victory against the boys in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
With a field of 18 going to post, Enable fared well in the draw, pulling stall two, but Gosden is not counting any chickens and would have preferred Frankie Dettori’s mount to have been in the middle.
“It was always going to be a big field, which is the reason we didn’t want to run Cracksman in it. It is good opposition and it is a proper Arc,” said Gosden.
“Horses with a high draw have the initial advantage, as it is a bit like in the boat race and the jockey will have to work out what to do. Luckily he has to make that decision, not the trainer.
“I always think the middle draw is best, but we are where we are and we’ve got to get on with it.
“I just hope we don’t get too much rain on the day.
“I would love to see it on better ground, when you see the good horses quicken.
“The filly is well in herself. She is a lovely filly and she is well. She is weighing more now than she did at the beginning of the year, which is a good sign.
“I think there are five or six really nice other horses in there, not one to be afraid of.
“Remember, Chantilly is not an easy track, with sharp bends. Not always the best horse wins.”
Nunthorpe heroine Marsha is reported to be at the top of her game as she bids to become the first horse for 23 years to complete back-to-back victories in the Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye.
The mighty Lochsong took Europe’s sprint crown in 1993 and 1994 and Marsha goes to France on the back of a heart-stopping win over American speedster Lady Aurelia at York.
The daughter of Acclamation, trained by Sir Mark Prescott, will be cheered on by 200 members of the Elite Racing Club, who own and bred the filly.
“We’re very much looking forward to it. We’re very happy with her and she appears to be in as good a form as she was before York,” said Elite’s racing manager Dan Downie.
“The ground should be fine. If they get the rain it might be a bit slower than last year.
“I’d say she’s in a similar place to where she was a year go. Her coat is starting to go, but it did last year so you wouldn’t be worried about that. We’re generally happy with her.
“She emulated Lochsong in the Palace House (by defying a 7lb penalty) so let’s hope she can do so again.”
Marsha’s regular partner Luke Morris is not too worried about the prospect of testing ground.
“She’s in good form and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
“She’s probably better on better ground, to be honest, but she ran reasonably well at Goodwood on it and that track suits her well so I’d be hopeful of a big run. Obviously Battaash and Signs Of Blessing are both well suited to very soft ground so if it does go very soft it will play to their strengths more than ours, but she has handled it before.
“Hopefully it won’t inconvenience her too much.”
Connections of the Richard Fahey-trained Queen Kindly feel the drop back to the minimum distance should work in her favour, judged on her latest run in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, where she only lost her way in the last of the six furlongs.
“We’re very hopeful. We thought she ran a little bit keen at Haydock and the ground was very heavy. We’re hoping it won’t be quite so heavy at Chantilly,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Jaber Abdullah. “She’s got plenty of speed so the drop back to five will be no problem.”
Muffri’Ha opened her account for the campaign with an authoritative success in the Muhaarar British EBF Rosemary Stakes.
The William Haggas-trained mare won twice on the Rowley Mile last season, including a Group Three triumph in the Darley Stakes last October.
She made a fine start to 2017, notably going close at Group One level in Dubai, but this was her first competitive appearance since finishing fourth in the Dahlia Stakes here back in May.
The 5-1 shot played up before the race, but was as good as gold during it, travelling strongly and picking up well once meeting the rising ground to score by a length under Pat Cosgrave.
“She’s a funny thing, she’s different at different meetings. You just have to let her do her own thing and eventually she comes round,” said the winning rider.