Enable bids for Classic double
14 July 2017 National Sport
Enable bids for her second Oaks
Epsom heroine Enable is reported to be in rude health ahead of her bid for further Classic glory in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Saturday.
Having warmed up for the Investec Oaks by landing the Cheshire Oaks, John Gosden’s filly was a dominant winner on the Surrey Downs, seeing off hot favourite Rhododendron in brilliant fashion and in a record time for the mile-and-a-half showpiece.
Frankie Dettori’s mount is odds-on across the board to complete the English-Irish Oaks double last achieved by Snow Fairy seven years ago and connections could not be happier with her condition.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “It’s all been very straightforward since Epsom and she has had a good preparation, which you must have before any big race. We’ve been very pleased with her and are looking forward to running her again.
“I have to say we were very pleased with the way she came back from Epsom. When they set a race record, you know they are going to have had a hard race and they went break-neck speed throughout.”
Gosden, who won the Irish Oaks with Great Heavens in 2012, feels it is not inconceivable Enable could still be improving.
He said: “She’s in great form. She’s worked nicely at the end of last week and cantered on Monday. We’re happy with her.
“She won her Cheshire Oaks in great style from Alluringly. We were expecting a huge run in the Oaks and got one.
“She’s by Nathaniel and he got better with age. She’s a scopey, rangy filly and learning all the time. She’s not had a lot of racing.”
The Clarehaven handler has a second string to his bow in Coronet, who was only fifth at Epsom but bounced back to win the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“She ran well in France in the Prix Saint-Alary. She got left and was a long way back over the mile and a quarter and ran on well to be third,” Gosden told At The Races.
“She got into a muddle at Epsom and didn’t handle the hill.
“She would have been an unlucky loser of the Ribblesdale. She was checked in the straight and still got out and won. She’s a filly who stays every inch.”
Aidan O’Brien is double-handed for his bid to win the race for a sixth time.
Wayne Lordan partners Alluringly, who was third in the Oaks and sixth in the Ribblesdale, while Seamie Heffernan gets the leg-up on recent Pretty Polly runner-up Rain Goddess.
O’Brien said: “Alluringly is in good form. She ran a bit disappointing in Ascot and we’re not sure the reason why, but she seems to be in good form since.
“It’s a step up to a mile and a half for the other filly (Rain Goddess) and we’re not sure about that.
“She seemed to get the mile and a quarter OK at the Curragh last time, so we’ll find out a lot more about her, but we couldn’t be sure about the mile and a half.”
John Oxx won back-to-back renewals of the Irish Oaks with Ebadiyla (1997) and Winona (1998), but has failed to add to his tally since.
This year the Currabeg handler launches a twin assault, with Ribblesdale disappointment Naughty Or Nice set to be joined by stablemate Bengala.
Naughty Or Nice won each of her first two starts before the saddle slipped at Ascot.
“Her first two runs were promising and the form has worked out quite well,” said Oxx.
“She had a bit of a disaster when she ran at Royal Ascot. We didn’t find out anything about her.
“On ratings she has quite a bit to find with Enable, obviously, but after Enable, who looks outstanding, the rest of them are much of a muchness, I suppose.
“You’d be hard pressed to pick the second-best filly at the moment and I think it’s an open race apart from the favourite.
“Everybody thinks they might have a chance of being in the first four.”
The 10-strong field is completed by Aurora Butterfly, Bean Feasa, Eziyra and Intricately.