Enable upstages the colts again with stunning King George win
John Gosden’s filly claims four and a half lengths win at Ascot
Frankie Dettori celebrates after riding Enable to win The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
It takes a filly of immense talent to beat the boys at the top level and Enable showed she is exactly that in storming to a decisive success in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
Arriving on the back of wins in both the English and Irish Oaks, the daughter of Nathaniel had already earned her place at the top of the pecking order among her own sex – and age group – but now it was a question of if she could replicate that against a field of proven Group One colts and older horses.
Having strived all week to make sure he was able to do the weight aboard the John Gosden-trained Classic heroine, Frankie Dettori was in no mood to let his efforts go to waste, and so it proved with the pair joining forces to dominate their rivals in the mile-and-a-half Group One prize with a performance of sheer brilliance.
After racing just off the pace which was cut out by stablemate Maverick Wave, the 5-4 favourite was sent on to win her race approaching the two-furlong pole, much to the delight of the most of the rain-soaked crowd in the packed stands.
Although Ulysses did his best to lay down a serious challenge, he could not match the finishing effort of the winner, with Enable striding to victory by four and a half lengths from this year’s Eclipse hero, to emulate her sire’s 2011 victory.
Hailing Enable as the best filly he has trained, Gosden said: “I think Frankie decided she is travelling and that I stay and I am not going to take her back and get in trouble. He rode her beautifully.
“Ulysses made a wonderful run at her and he has won an Eclipse, but she is a very smart filly. All in all she’s as good a filly as I’ve ever trained – Taghrooda was brilliant to win this and she’s following Dahlia and Pawneese.
“I am great believer in this race being a meeting of the generations and she has proved it.
“She would have won on good ground. I love great fillies to train, they are just a pleasure to be around on the whole. She just takes the race by the horns.
“The Yorkshire Oaks is where we want to go and then freshen up and see where we are about a race on October 1st [Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe].
“No preps or things, maybe a racecourse gallop and then the Arc.”
While the past week has been a mentally draining one for Dettori, it was a sacrifice he was more than willing to take for a filly he described as a “superstar”.
He said: “I’m thrilled. I said to John after the Irish Oaks that I haven’t had a feeling like that since Golden Horn in the Arc.
“I knew she was up to the task, but I didn’t expect her to do that and she destroyed them. She is uncomplicated with a good mind.
“I was confident, then I started reading all these negative things, but I thought they have got to give a stone to a superstar and that was a big task for them.
“I lost 7lb in six days. It was all water and fish basically for a week. It was boring, but I would not let anyone else ride her.”
Prince Ahmed bin Khalid, son of winning owner Khalid Abdullah, felt it was performance up their some of the best to carry his father’s pink, white and green silks to glory.
He said: “I promised my father I would bring the trophy back and I am grateful to both Frankie and John that they didn’t make a liar out of me.
“She is lovely. The last time I was in Ascot was in 1986 when Dancing Brave won.
“That was my first King George. This filly was very impressive and she comes very close to all of our male horses.”
Michael Stoute will keep his options open for Ulysses.
He said: “I am delighted with him. We like him on better ground, but we were beaten by a very good filly. He is very versatile really. He gets a mile and a half no problem. We can do 10 (furlongs), we can do 12.”
Neither Idaho, who was third, nor his full-brother, last year’s winner Highland Reel, who finished fourth, could land a blow on this occasion, but trainer Aidan O’Brien was satisfied with their performances in defeat.
He said: “Both ran very well. I’m not going make any excuses, but obviously this ground isn’t ideal for Highland Reel. Idaho ran very well. He has a little bit of form with cut in the ground.”