Enable odds-on to make history in Breeders Cup Turf
Dual-Arc heroine gets green light to bid for glory at Churchill Downs in Kentucky
Frankie Dettori celebrates Enable’s victory in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. Photograph: Francois Mori/AP
Enable is a heavy odds-on favourite to become the first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner to also land the Breeders Cup Turf.
The dual Arc heroine has been given the green light by owner Prince Khalid Abdullah to go to the mile and a half highlight at Churchill Downs in just over two weeks’ time.
No winner of Europe’s greatest all-aged race has ever managed to complete the double in America and Abdullah’s great 1980s star Dancing Brave is perhaps the most notable failure.
After winning a vintage Arc in 1986, Dancing Brave could finish only fourth behind Manila in the Turf at Santa Anita. A year later the French colt Trempolino found Theatrical too good in America.
More recently the 2015 Arc winner Golden Horn was beaten by Found in the Turf and Aidan O’Brien’s filly herself failed to pull off the double in 2016, finishing third to her stable companion, Highland Reel, at the Breeders Cup.
Enable however has had just two runs this year, winning at Kempton last month before landing the Arc when described as being at only “85 per cent” by trainer John Gosden after a setback.
“We’re aware that no Arc winner has won the Breeders Cup Turf but we’re looking for positives – most of them had had a hard, tough season by the time they got to the Breeders Cup,” said Adbullah’s racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe.
“Dancing Brave had a Guineas preparation and he was going there having run not just a lifetime best but a world best in the Arc. It was just a bridge too far for him. For a lot of Arc winners it has come at the end of a long season where the Arc had been the aim so it’s slightly different for her.
“She certainly hasn’t had a long season but I wouldn’t say she didn’t have a tough race in the Arc. However, she has only had two races this year so from that point of view it gave us encouragement,” he added.
Paddy Powers’ initial reaction was to make Enable 4-7 to beat the trends with the filly’s stable companion Roaring Lion next best at 5-1. Capri is the shortest -priced Aidan O’Brien horse at 14-1.
In other flat news, Saturday’s Leopardstown feature is the Group Three Killavullan Stakes, a seven-furlong heat won by subsequent Classic winners Footstepsinthesand (2004) and Grey Swallow in 2003.
A total of 20 horses were left in the race at Tuesday’s forfeit stage including Ballydoyle’s €1.6 million purchase Old Glory.
He could renew rivalry with Joseph O’Brien’s No Needs Never who beat him by almost two lengths in a Listed race at Dundalk earlier this month.
His stable companion, So Perfect, twice placed at Group One level, including when third to Fairyland in the Cheveley Park Stakes last time, is also among the entries, as is last weekend’s Limerick winner Could Be King.
“It’s probably only 50-50 he’ll run. It was heavy at Limerick and hard work so we’ll have to see how he is. I do think he has a future at this level and he ran well in the Futurity a couple of runs back,” said Could Be King’s trainer Patrick Prendergast.
Classic hopes were entertained at the start of this season for O’Brien’s Amedeo Modigliani but he hasn’t made it to the racecourse.
However the colt is among 10 left in the Listed Trigo Stakes on Saturday. The 112 rated Riven Light, who hasn’t raced since a disappointing effort in South Korea last month, looks to set the standard in the mile and a quarter heat.