JOHN GOSDEN has confirmed that the majestic mare Enable is on track for next week’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor festival after a pleasing workout under big race jockey Frankie Dettori.
The five-year-old, owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, has become a racing superstar over the last three seasons and will look to extend her winning sequence to 12 when lining up in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday week.
Nine of those successes have been at Group One level, including the 2017 renewal of the Yorkshire Oaks, and her appearance will be the highlight of York’s biggest week of the year.
She will be the highest profile horse to appear at York since Frankel, also owned by the aforementioned Abdullah, won the 2012 Juddmonte International on a never-to-be-forgotten afternoon.
This season has already seen Enable triumphing in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, followed up by a memorable win in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month after an epic battle with the gallant Crystal Ocean.
And while the ultimate target is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in early October, and which Enable will attempt to win for an unprecedented third straight season, Newmarket-based Gosden views the York race as the ideal prep run.
“We are pointing at the Yorkshire Oaks – we were keen to stay at a mile and a half, rather than coming back in trip again – and obviously trying to use it as a springboard to the Arc,” said the champion trainer.
“She has had a nice easy time since the King George. She just did a breeze on her own with Frankie on her on Saturday – into a strong headwind, so they just did a nice quiet bit. She’ll pick up again in her work this week, but she is out there enjoying herself, looking well and moving nicely.
“She’s a lovely filly, obviously, and she has done extremely well this year. She really enjoys her training and her racing, which obviously makes the trainer’s job a lot easier. Everyone is interested in her when she is out on the Heath. So we are very lucky to have a filly like that in the stables.
“Obviously it comes with plenty of responsibility but all being well we’ll be there next Thursday with her. She has been to York before. The crowd were thrilled to see her last time she was there when she came after the King George.”
From a raft of other entries in the £400,000 race Gosden expects Enable to be joined in it by Lah Ti Dar who is already a two-time winner at York in the colours of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Madeline.
Gosden confirmed: “Lah Ti Dar may well be in the Oaks as well. The owner-breeders are very keen to run her – they’ve been wanting to run her in the race all year, so I’m sure that’s where she’ll probably be going. She is training nicely.”
The trainer also gave a positive update about Stradivarius who will seek to win the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup for a second successive year. If he is victorious on Friday week, the brilliant five-year-old will land owner Bjorn Nielsen and stable staff a £1m bonus for the second time because of his dominance.
So far this season Stradivarius has triumphed in the Yorkshire Cup, the Ascot Gold Cup and, most recently, the Goodwood Cup. Gosden said: “He is as cheeky as ever! He is full of himself, a very happy horse. He is training up nicely for the race.
“Obviously, the Goodwood Cup was not that long ago, so we come into the Lonsdale just trying to keep the freshness in him.”