Middle-distance superstar Enable heads the entry for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks – the £350,000 feature race of Ladies Day, next Thursday at York.
Enable represents trainer John Gosden, who has three of the nine entries for the mile-and-a-half Group 1 contest for fillies aged three and upwards. Enable, owned and bred by Prince Khalid Abdullah, has lit up the summer with a series of brilliant performances. She won the Investec Oaks by five lengths and followed up by triumphing in the Darley Irish Oaks – again by an emphatic margin.
To many eyes, she topped even those excellent displays with a four-and-a-half length victory when taking on the older colts, in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month. Now it’s next stop York for the fabulous filly by Nathaniel.
Gosden said today: “Enable is happy and well. We always wanted to go to this race. It was meant to be Irish Oaks to Yorkshire Oaks. She took the Irish Oaks so much in her stride that then the King George came into play. This was part of the original plan and hopefully we’ll be there.”
In recent years, Gosden’s Clarehaven Stables has housed stars such as Golden Horn and Taghrooda, both of whom came to feature races at the York showpiece. Now Enable is the latest yard flag-bearer to target the Knavesmire. The Newmarket-based trainer added: “When you are lucky enough to have a Golden Horn in the yard or a filly of Enable’s ilk – like Taghrooda – it’s a great buzz. But of course with it comes added pressures – never forget that.”
Another Gosden-trained horse that will be the subject of great interest at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is Cracksman, who is set to contest the G2 Betway Great Voltigeur on the opening day of the meeting, next Wednesday.
The son of Frankel has run in two Derbies – at Epsom and The Curragh – on his last two starts, finishing third and second respectively. Gosden assessed: “We’d be hoping to run Cracksman in the Great Voltigeur. A mile and a half, fresh ground on the Wednesday – he’s in good order. It looks a Voltigeur of great depth.”
Gosden also indicated that Shutter Speed is in line for a tilt at the G1 Juddmonte International Stakes, which takes place 35 minutes later on Wednesday. The Tattersalls Musidora Stakes winner over course and distance in May was subsequently fourth in the G1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly so eyes a share of the £1 million prize fund.
The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 23 August to Saturday 26 August inclusive