Enable Back for 188BET September Stakes, but May Face Crystal Ocean Test
Enable is on course to make her seasonal bow in the 188BET September Stakes at Kempton Park on Saturday.
The superstar filly has been on the sidelines since her brilliant win in last season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but she has been nursed back to fitness by trainer John Gosden.
A trip to Paris for a repeat tilt at the Arc, which will return to its Longchamp home after a spell at Chantilly due to redevelopment work, is the plan.
Enable’s credentials will be tested at the weekend, where a maximum of nine opponents could line up in opposition – headed by Crystal Ocean.
Gosden has also entered the Ebor Handicap runner-up Westender while Finche could make the trip from Andre Fabre’s stables in France. Prize Money and Game Starter feature from the Saeed Bin Suroor yard, while Cribbs Causeway, Mia Tesoro, Peak Princess and Tight Lines make up the declarations.
On all known form, the majority of the field do not stand much chance should a fit and firing Enable turn up, but Sir Michael Stoute has added some intrigue to the contest by declaring Crystal Ocean.
Crystal Ocean has made giant strides this season, winning his first three outings before being narrowly denied by stablemate Poet’s Word in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July.
He is rated one pound superior to Enable on the official figures, such has been his progress in 2018, but he faces a mighty task conceding eight pounds to the daughter of Nathaniel.
It’s debatable as to whether Enable will be hard fit on Saturday, given her prolonged absence, but connections are happy with how she has been shaping up in recent weeks.
“She’s been fine and she’s been reported in good form,” Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah, told At The Races. “I’ve seen her several times and she looks in good shape.
“She’s done everything correctly, as John would have wanted. We’re looking forward to it.”
The ultimate aim for Enable is a repeat tilt at the Arc, so the priority for Saturday is to get some race time in her legs, but while victory is not vital, connections will want to see much if not all of her old sparkle.
Enable began the season as a strong favourite to defend her Arc crown, but while confined to her box a number of contenders have emerged.
It’s highly unlikely Enable’s price will fluctuate much following Saturday’s race. It would take a spectacular performance, whether it be positive or negative, for a major shift in the market to take place.
A comfortable success or narrow defeat may see a point shift either way, so it may be best to wait for the dust to settle on her performance before thinking about an Arc punt.
Win, lose or draw it will be a delight to see last year’s equine superstar return to the track.