ENABLE’S TASK LOOKING EASIER
Mike Cattermole: A month ago, the Prix de l”Arc de Triomphe was shaping up to be one of the best renewals for a number of years.
Now, following the injury sustained to Poet’s Word, the decision to miss the race with Crystal Ocean and the puzzlingly unlikely participation of Cracksman, Enable is going to line up an even stronger fancy to become just the third dual winning filly of the Paris-Longchamp showpiece.
The absence of three of the highest-rated
The absence of three of the highest-rated older horses over middle distances – not just in Europe but the world – is a disappointment. This, especially as Roaring Lion, another in the world’s top five, was never going to be aimed at a mile and a half again anyway.
The ground is the reason for Cracksman likely being held back for Ascot – although it is described as good to soft at the time of writing (according to the International Racing Bureau website).
I know it has been an exceptionally dry and sunny summer but surely the surface is not going to ride fast at this time of the year? The French groundstaff would not risk any jar in the ground and there is also plenty of dew about.
So, Mr Oppenheimer, please let Cracksman take his chance!
Of course, if it had been a particularly wet start to the autumn then he would be running without question but Sea Of Class, who is so effective on top-of-the-ground, would not have been added to the race (at a cost of €120,000) this week.
The forecast until Sunday is dry but there is a chance of some showers in the area in the early hours of race day.
Still, what we will have is the mouth-watering clash between two very different but outstanding fillies – Enable the relentless galloper and Sea Of Class who seemingly can quicken at will. That alone is still going to be worth the admission price to the newly revamped racecourse on the Bois de Boulogne.
As an interesting form line, both fillies won successive runnings of the Yorkshire Oaks at the chief expense of Coronet, albeit in different styles.
In spite of being a huge fan of Sea Of Class, I fully expect Enable to retain the Arc title simply because she is exceptional. I know that she got all of the fillies’ and weight-for-age allowances last year but she was just so far ahead of anything. The lung power she generates in her gallop is extraordinary.
However, there are plenty out there who believe that just the one race in the season leading up to this is not a good thing and that a once-injured filly may be vulnerable if the ground is not soft enough for her. And there is the bounce factor, too.
But, I think that’s over-complicating things.
Her comeback was more than satisfactory. To these eyes, she showed in her defeat of Crystal Ocean (who admittedly was giving away 8lb) at Kempton last month that the engine was still operating on all cylinders. It was as good a return as the John Gosden and Khaled Abdulla team could have hoped for.
Certainly, it was all so different 12 months ago for the daughter of Nathaniel who turned up at Chantilly having swept everything aside during the summer.
She had won the Oaks, Irish Oaks (on good to firm) and Yorkshire Oaks as well as the King George; remember, she thrashed the top-class Ulysses by just over four lengths at Ascot and almost duplicated that in the Arc.
Enable is trading
Enable is trading at around even money with most firms but I feel she should be shorter than that.
Cloth Of Stars, who chased her home last year, is back but he has not reproduced that form this season and has been comfortably beaten by stablemate Waldgeist on three occasions.
On the latest of those, in the Prix Foy, Waldgeist was tremendously impressive as he travelled beautifully and quickened with ease to beat him with Talismanic splitting them.
His trainer, Andre Fabre, notched win number seven in the Arc as far back as 2006 with Rail Link. Interestingly, six of his winners have been three-year-olds with Subotica (1992) being the odd one out.
Waldgeist is set for a big run but the stats are against him as only two winners of the Foy, Allez France in 1974 and Sagace in ’84, have won the Arc in the same year. Subotica was beaten in the Foy.
Even worse as an Arc trial is the St Leger and although I loved the way Kew Gardens won at Doncaster, it is taking a leap of imagination to see him become the first to complete the double.
So, Enable to win well with Waldgeist holding second from a running-on Sea Of Class.
BATTAASH FOR THE ABBAYE? A WATCHING BRIEF FOR ME!
If his trainer remains puzzled about Battaash’s below-par run at York, what are the rest of us to think?
It could be that York doesn’t suit him or it could be that he is simply inconsistent. Of course, it would be great to see Battaash back to his best in the Prix de l’Abbaye but he won’t be carrying any of my Euros.
I am a bit of a fan of City Light but he needs to break sharply if he’s to make his turn of foot effective. The French have had little luck in this of course, with Wizz Kid a rare highlight for them back in 2012.
MIDDLE PARK LOOKED GOOD
Ten Sovereigns was pushed all the way by Jash to maintain his beaten record in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket last Saturday.
I loved the way they pulled clear of a back-to-form Rumble Inthejungle who looks a pure sprinter. However, the first two could easily be genuine contenders for the 2,000 Guineas.
At no stage did Jash look like pulling back Ten Sovereigns who kept on strongly, even if he does carry his head at a high angle. Both colts were foaled in March so there is no maturity angle to go on here. It will just be the case of which one does best throughout the winter. At the moment, the Aidan O’Brien colt has the edge.
I wasn’t sure what to make of the Cheveley Park, especially with Pretty Pollyanna running below her best in fourth place. There may be no stars there but it was great to hear that Brian Ellison is keen on sending runner-up The Mackem Bullet to the Breeders’ Cup.
The Americans may need a translator when they interview the popular Norton-based trainer!