Enable – from Newcastle maiden to record-breaker

Frankie Dettori with Enable at Ascot
Frankie Dettori with Enable at Ascot - (Copyright PA Wire)
10:27am, Mon 12 Oct 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Enable is unquestionably one of the greatest racehorses of modern times, with few horses able to lay a glove on John Gosden’s star mare. Her rise was meteoric, but once she hit the top, she never looked like coming back down. Here, we look at her outstanding career – from the very start.

Low-key debut success

John Gosden gave Enable a low-key debut on the all-weather at Newcastle in November 2016, when she led entering the final furlong and strode away to take a one-mile maiden by three and three-quarter lengths.

Stablemate Shutter scores

A quiet introduction to 2017 saw Enable make late progress to finish third behind stablemate Shutter Speed in a 10-furlong conditions race at Newbury in April.

Cheshire please…

Ridden by Frankie Dettori for the first time, Enable showed her Classic potential with an impressive victory in the Cheshire Oaks as she swept Aidan O’Brien’s Alluringly aside with the minimum of fuss.

Oaks romp

The driving rain does little to divert Enable from victory in the 2017 Epsom Oaks (Adam Davy/PA) - (Copyright PA Archive)

Leading two furlongs out, Enable put her rivals to the sword to run out a facile five-length winner from Rhododendron in the fillies’ Classic at Epsom, which was run in a thunderstorm.

Classic double

After tracking Bengala, Enable went about her business halfway up the straight and passed the post five and a half lengths clear of Rain Goddess in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

King queen

Enable claims her first King George at Ascot - (Copyright PA Archive)

Enable was crowned queen in the King George as she beat the colts and older horses in some style with another breathtaking display at Ascot, dispatching the top-class Ulysses by four and a half lengths.

Tour de Yorkshire

Enable takes the Yorkshire Oaks by an emphatic five lengths - (Copyright PA Archive)

The Yorkshire Oaks proved another cakewalk as Enable made all the running at York, and won unchallenged by five lengths.

Arc angel

On French turf for the first time, the filly travelled at the head of the field throughout at Chantilly before surging clear two furlongs from the post and finding nothing to stand in the way of her first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victory.

All-weather warm-up

Enable made a late and low-key 2018 debut by effortlessly winning the Group Three September Stakes on Kempton’s all-weather track, leaving all but the high-quality Crystal Ocean out of view.

Triomphant again

A return to defend her Arc title, this time held at its rightful home ParisLongchamp, saw Enable claim her hardest-fought win yet as she just edged out the late flourish of Sea Of Class.

Enable takes America

A trip to the States provided Enable with another overseas win as she surged to a narrow but convincing success in the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs, making her the first ever horse to complete the Arc and Breeders’ Cup double in the same season.

Sandown showpiece

Stepping back to a mile and a quarter for the first time since her turf debut defeat, Enable proved a lesser trip was no barrier to her success as she claimed the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

The queen still reigns

Enable takes on Crystal Ocean on the way to her second King George win at Ascot - (Copyright PA Wire)

Enable retained her King George title at Ascot after an epic shoulder-to-shoulder battle with Crystal Ocean, over whom she eventually prevailed by just a neck.

The perfect (first) farewell to Britain

Darley Yorkshire Oaks Day – 2019 Yorkshire Ebor Festival – York Racecourse - (Copyright PA Wire)

Enable penned what was thought to be her own British valedictory with an all-the-way victory as she took the Darley Yorkshire Oaks for the second time, and extended her winning run to 12 and overall tally to 13 out of 14. Old rival Magical was again her victim, beaten two and three-quarter lengths this time.

Waldgeist prevents Arc history

It was not to be as Enable gave best by a length and three-quarters to old rival Waldgeist. She got the better of young pretenders Sottsass and Japan, but then had nothing left to repel Andre Fabre’s French challenger – as the prize this time stayed at home in the Parisian mud.


Enable (right) could not quite get to grips with Ghaiyyath on her Sandown comeback - (Copyright PA Wire)

Enable went off even-money favourite to start the 2020 campaign with victory by defending her Coral-Eclipse crown at Sandown. But on her first start for almost nine months, after connections resolved to race on for another season in pursuit of a third Arc, she failed to reel in the classy and race-fit Ghaiyyath – having to settle for a two-and-a-quarter-length second over 10 furlongs.

Back to her best

Enable draws clear of Sovereign to create history - (Copyright PA Wire)

Only three went to post for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes – but Enable’s opponents were last year’s Irish Derby winner Sovereign and a Juddmonte International hero in Japan, both trained by Aidan O’Brien. The result was never in any doubt, however, as Enable powered to a five-and-a-half-length success to create history by winning the race for a third time.

Bon voyage?

Enable was in a league of her own at Kempton - (Copyright PA Wire)

Missing the Ebor Festival and a clash with Love to instead head to Kempton for her final Arc prep of 2020 might not have been to the liking of the purists – but there is little doubt it was the right decision. Her odds of 1-14 said everything about both her and the field she faced – and bar missing the break a touch, she did it as she liked, with Dettori in cruise control. Next stop a last tango in Paris.

No third Arc

Gosden had warned everyone the monsoon-like rain that hit Paris in the days before the Arc on the first Sunday in October would not suit his star, and so it proved as she could only finish sixth behind Sottsass. Enable suffered trouble in running and a slowly-run race did not help her cause, either. What had shaped for months as an Arc to savour ultimately ended in anti-climax, for all the winner Sottsass is a smart performer.

Sign up to our newsletter