Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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ENABLE won at Kempton Park before landing her second Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2018 and connections are plotting the same route this year.
The John Gosden-trained wonder mare returns to Kempton on Saturday where she faces a maximum of six rivals in the 12 furlong, Group 3, Unibet September Stakes; a race the 14-time winner won in 2018, before securing back to back wins in the Arc four weeks later.
Enable, winner of 2017 and 2018 Arc’s, narrowly failed to create history as the first three-time winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe when second to Waldgeist in 2019.
Connections opted to keep her in training and after finishing second in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on her seasonal debut, were rewarded with a record third win in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.
“It took a lot longer this year to get her fit and today you saw the finished article,” jockey Frankie Dettori said after the King George victory.
“We have a massive dream to try and win a third Arc, so fingers crossed.
“For racing in general, she has been leading these amazing races for the last three years. People get attached to her, no more than me and Imran (Shawani, groom), who looks after her. We all love her dearly and she never lets us down. If she doesn’t win, she finishes second and has been a model of consistency. She has got this amazing presence and these massive, big ears. She walks with her chest sticking out and you can see it – she gives those vibes to everyone and people are attached to her for that reason. I get the privilege to ride her and the public are actually riding with me. We really need to cherish these special horses.
“I know it’s a Covid lockdown but the 30 people that are here all clapped. We had a bit of an atmosphere. She has taken me emotionally to places no other horse has taken me. It’s nerve-wracking when you are riding her because you want everything to go right. That’s why she is so special because we have had a tremendous time together around the world for the past three years. It will be very hard for me at this stage of my career to find one like her. I am going to enjoy it as much as I can. Hopefully, we will get to see her a couple more times’ so let’s enjoy it.
“It took a long time to get her back this year. She has been in Newmarket for four years, going up the gallops, and she knows exactly what’s going on. John tried different things – we took her to the racecourse, we worked her in front, we worked her behind, we worked her with company, a variety of different things to get the fire back. That is why John Gosden is a great trainer; he does things outside the box, and we got her back. I was pleasantly surprised after the Eclipse when I rode her work – she was a different horse.
“I love her so much. She has taken me to emotional heights no other horse has. She is the only horse I ride from the yard; I spoil her with Polos. I don’t know whether she really recognizes me or not, but she eats them no matter what. I’ve become friends with her. She knows she is good, and I am trying to enjoy it as much as we all are. She is wonderful.
“This kind of race is always hard to win. Of course I approach it with great thinking and perspective; I know I am riding the top-rated horse in the world so there is pressure, there is nervousness, but I’ve been doing it for so long that I try to use that energy to my advantage. When you have a performance like that – the only thing that was missing today was the crowd; I would have really loved that, but it is what it is, and we are racing.
“She isn’t getting better, but she is the same. You could see her enthusiasm – it was plain to see today that she is thriving on her racing. If she showed any sign of weakness, the Arc would be a non-runner, but she has showed that she is still very competitive.
“The dream really – three King Georges is amazing – but it is really about the Arc. With a performance like this, we’re still in with a shot. She is giving me the same vibes that she did last year.
“When you go to the Arc, it is hard, but at least we know, with this kind of display, that we can be really competitive.”
Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.