Enable’s Iconic Oaks
On Epsom Downs, under a threatening sky, ten runners made their way to the start. Rhododendron, a Galileo filly, and second to Winter in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas, was now 8-11 favourite and one of three entries trained by Aidan O’Brien. Enable, trained by John Gosden, ridden by Frankie Dettori and winner of the Cheshire Oaks, was a popular alternative at 6-1, as was Godolphin’s Sobetsu, a recent winner of the Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville.
American trained, Daddys Lil Darlin, second in the Kentucky Oaks, had been flown over to take her chance. However, without her usual pony and faced with the expanse of the Downs, she bolted. Careering towards the start and looking set to crash into the stalls, Olivier Peslier, fearing for his safety, jumped ship. Fortunately, the filly was rescued with no harm done and withdrawn.
Meanwhile, a sudden and violent thunderstorm broke out over the Downs, with bolts of lightning and crashes of thunder bringing cries of alarm from the stands. Nevertheless, the nine runners courageously left the stalls, Pocketfullofdreams setting a strong pace for the O’Brien camp, followed by Enable and Sobetsu. The field, stretched out to the top of the hill, saw Pocketfulofdreams blazing a trail down to Tattenham Corner, five lengths clear of Sobetsu and Enable. Approaching the two-pole, Enable surged ahead until quickly joined by Ryan Moore on Rhododendron. The pair then battled it out head to head to the distance, where, Enable, proving superior, drew away through the heavy rain to win by five lengths. It was Frankie Dettori’s fourth Oaks. Meantime, O’Brien’s Alluringly, pluckily kept on for third, a further six lengths away.
Surprisingly, Enable clocked 2 min 34.13 sec – a new race record, more so, as an extra 26 yards had been added to the distance to protect the ground on the inner rail for Derby day.
Enable went on to win the Darley Irish Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Darley Yorkshire Oaks, Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and stays in training as a four-year-old.
RUN on Friday, 2 June 2017, as the Investec Oaks, over the Derby Course of one mile and a half and 6 yards, for three-year-old fillies, 9st 0lb.
Value to winner £283,550.
1st ENABLE Frankie Dettori 6-1
2nd RHODODENDRON Ryan Moore 8-11 Fav 5 lengths
3rd ALLURINGLY Seamie Heffernan 16-1 6 lengths
Also ran: 4th Horseplay (O. Murphy) 14-1; Coronet (A. Atzeni) 12-1; Isabel De Urbina (F. M. Berry) 33-1; Pocketfullofdreams (D. O’Brien) 50-1; Sobetsu (W. Buick) 6-1; Natavia (P.Smullen) 12-1 (last, 30 lengths behind the winner).
9 ran. Time: 2 min. 34.13 sec. (New race record).
BRED by Juddmonte Farms Ltd.
OWNED by Khalid Abdullah.
TRAINED by John Gosden at Newmarket.
The winner’s sire, NATHANIEL, won 4 races (from 11 starts): St Helens Maiden Stakes, Haydock, King Edward VII Stakes, Ascot, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, beating WORKFORCE, (2011), Coral-Eclipse Stakes, Sandown. Second to DANEDREAM in King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2012).
ENABLE is his first Group 1 winner.
The winner’s dam, CONCENTRIC, won 3 races (from 7 starts): Prix de Chaillot and Prix de Cheffreville, Lonchamp, Prix Charles Laffitte, Chantilly. She has bred 3 winners from 5 foals (ENABLE was her 5th) incl. CONTRIBUTION b.f. 2012 by CHAMPS ELYSEES, won 1 race: Prix Kasteel, Maisons-Laffitte; TOURNAMENT b.g. 2011 by OASIS DREAM, won 3 races incl. Ladbrokes Handicap, (AW) Lingfield: 32Red.com Handicap (AW) Kempton.