Grimthorpe salutes brilliance and longevity of Enable

Teddy Grimthorpe nominated Enable’s first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victory as his personal highlight of the mare’s glittering career following her retirement on Monday.

Grimthorpe, who is the long-standing racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, was at ParisLongchamp just over a week ago when the John Gosden-trained six-year-old had to settle for sixth place in her quest for an unprecedented third Arc win, with the heavy French ground taking its toll.

Hopes had been raised of a swansong at Ascot on Champions Day when she appeared on the Newmarket gallops last week, but she will instead be retired and is booked in for a date with Kingman, who is also owned by Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms operation.

Enable won 15 of her 19 races with her 11 Group Ones including three King Georges, the English and Irish Oaks and the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but Grimthorpe believes Chantilly in 2017 provided a special moment.

“I’ve been asked a few times in recent weeks what I think was her best ever performance. I think the Oaks was the first time that she blasted into the stratosphere,” said Grimthorpe.

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“It was a race run in record time through a thunderstorm and she finished five lengths clear of Rhododendron. That really set out her stall as a marker that she was above the average Group One horse.

“Her first two King Georges were special, it’s hard to separate the two, but for me her best performance was her first Arc at Chantilly.

“It was a superb ride by Frankie (Dettori) – he made a manoeuvre early which put her in a great spot so that coming around the bend, you could be pretty confident something good was going to happen.”

Enable (right) went head-to-head with Crystal Ocean down the Ascot straight
Enable (right) went head-to-head with Crystal Ocean down the Ascot straight (Julian Herbert/PA)

The 2019 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes produced a race for the ages, as Enable pipped Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean by a neck after a duel in the Ascot straight.

“Her second King George when she edged out Crystal Ocean was memorable,” said Grimthorpe.

“Depending on how old you are, the King George holds a special place and you remember certain battles – for me it’s Grundy and Bustino, but Enable and Crystal Ocean certainly had elements of that. It was a great tussle. Two great horses and two very good jockeys.

“She was also the first horse to win the Arc and the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same season. That was the year she didn’t have her first run until September. To do that was pretty special, beating Magical again with the pair well clear.”

There is a tendency in racing to compare eras and while Enable’s record stands up to close scrutiny, an official rating of 128 sees her fall some way shy of fellow Abdullah runner Frankel, who retired with a mark of 140.

However, Grimthorpe does not believe her rating tells the whole story.

“Everyone always talks about ratings and while they are important, what people have to remember is what she gave to racing over five seasons – not many can look her in the eye there,” he said.

“The public following she garnered because of the way she kept coming back is special, but there are so many things that made her special.

“You shouldn’t say these words lightly, but it has been an honour and a privilege just to be around her – she’s meant so much for everyone at Juddmonte, Prince Khalid downwards, she’s given so much.”

Asked who would have come out on top between Enable and Frankel over 10 furlongs, Grimthorpe laughed and added: “We’ll never know!”

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