A majestic display in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday saw John Gosden’s Enable become the first ever winner of the race to have landed both the English and Irish Oaks in the same season.
The three-year-old filly, ridden by Newmarket’s ever-popular Dettori, became the first winner of the all-aged King George to have also won the Irish Oaks, which came just a fortnight before, since Dahlia in 1973.
The favourite had tucked in off the early pace setter Maverick Wave heading down to Swinley Bottom on the inside rail.
At the seven furlong marker Maverick Wave had broken into a seven lengths lead from last year’s winner, Aidan O’Brien’s Highland Reel.
But as they came into the turn Gosden’s stable pairing of Enable and Jack Hobbs made their move to the front with a magnificent burst of pace.
While Jack Hobbs was unable to sustain the pace, Enable went on to break three lengths clear from the two furlong marker, leaving Sir Michael Stoute’s town-trained Ulysses in her trail, with Idaho eventually coming through to finish third and Jack Hobbs finishing fourth.
It was also a fantastic achievement for town champion jockey Dettori, still not back full-time after a shoulder injury, who revealed afterwards he had lost seven pounds in six days to weigh out at 8st 7lb for the ride on Enable.
“I haven’t had a feeling like that since Golden Horn in the (2015) Arc,” Dettori said.
“She’s top-drawer and that’s three times she’s proved it; three times that she’s won by a wide margin.
“Everything went to plan and I was getting a lot of weight from the others.
“I didn’t want to see a sprint and I knew she stays, so I kicked for home early and I could hear the commentator say that I had plenty of daylight, so I was able to enjoy it.”
For Gosden, it followed up his 2014 win in the same race with English Oaks winner Taghrooda.
“She’s a wonderful filly,” he said. “To follow Dahlia and Pawneese, and even Taghrooda, it says a lot.
“They were all front rank, Aidan’s and ours, up there together, and Frankie just decided that she was travelling, she would stay and she exploded early in the straight.
“Ulysses made a great run at her, but she’s a very smart filly.”
He added: “Royal Heroine in America, and Taghrooda and Dar Re Mi, I’ve been very lucky with great fillies to train. But it is the style of her winning; she gets in a race, she’s there and it’s obvious that she wants to race, she takes it by the horns.”
Gosden also paid tribute to his winning jockey’s efforts to ensure the Ascot silverware and a piece of history.
“Her jockey remains as hungry and enthusiastic as ever,” he said.
“He’s had to fight hard to get back from a fractured shoulder. He rode her when he wasn’t 100 per cent in Ireland; he killed himself to do this weight. He’ll eat tonight, his hunger and passion for the game are undimmed and I find that quite remarkable.”
Looking ahead for Enable’s next fronteir, he pinpointed Europe’s biggest prize, at the start of October, as the next target.
“I think the Arc is a natural progression,” he said. “If she’s in good order, we’ll go for the Yorkshire Oaks, then we’ll take a nice pause. No preps or things, maybe a racecourse gallop and then the Arc.”
* For a full round-up of the weekend’s racing action, as well as betting tips for the week ahead, don’t miss Thursday’s Newmarket Journal.