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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!”

‘No immediate decision’ on Enable future

No decision will be made just yet over whether Enable has run for the final time in her exalted career, following her sixth-place finish in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

John Gosden’s brilliant mare found the very testing conditions in ParisLongchamp against her, as Sottsass provided master French trainer Jean-Claude Rouget with his first win in Europe’s premier race.

Gosden felt the slow pace dictated by Persian King also worked against his runners, with Stradivarius finishing right on Enable’s tail, and he put that down to the absence of Aidan O’Brien’s contenders, who were dramatically ruled out on Saturday evening due to problems related to contaminated feed.

“If we’d had Sovereign and Serpentine in there it would have been a very different race, but as it was it didn’t work out for her or Stradivarius,” said Gosden.

“Frankie (Dettori) said neither horse liked the holding ground, it would have been better if it was wetter. I did warn people, though.

“They didn’t have a hard race as it was only a little dash. They weren’t blowing, so it was a rather elaborate journey for a racecourse gallop up the Longchamp straight.”

While Enable’s future remains up in the air, Gosden did confirm that triple Gold Cup winner Stradivarius will stay in training.

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He told Sky Sports Racing: “I think Mr (Bjorn) Nielsen is keen for Stradivarius to attempt a fourth Gold Cup.

“With Enable Teddy (Grimthorpe, racing manager) and I will report to Prince Khalid (Abdullah, owner) and he will make the decision whether she has one more race or retires. It will be entirely his decision.

“We know she has a great turn of foot. It was unfortunate she was the meat in a sandwich at one point and once you break your stride in that ground it is difficult to get going again.

“To that extent Frankie never touched her with the stick, same with Olivier (Peslier on Stradivarius), the horses weren’t handling the ground so the jockeys looked after them.

“Both are extremely bright after the race which is extremely good news because you always worry in that ground they might pull something.

“She’s been amazingly consistent. She won her maiden, got boxed in when we ran her in a conditions race which we won with another filly, but after that she won everything apart from last year’s Arc and this year’s Eclipse.

“Her mental attitude and mental strength set her apart, she’s so determined, positive about her training, but she found her training tougher this year.

“It’s a pity it wasn’t good to soft ground and an even gallop, but it wasn’t. We’d been lucky we’d had that in the two years we won and were second, but today was very different and quite frankly that didn’t play to her strengths at all.

“It was Prince Khalid’s decision to try again this year and whether she runs again will be his decision.

“It’s a long time to the breeding season. She’ll tell us and if she gives me the right signs we’ll see. If she seems like she’s had enough of racing then fine, but it didn’t look that way when she came off the track.”

For Grimthorpe there are too many positive memories with Enable for him to feel downhearted.

Teddy Grimthorpe would rather remember the good days
Teddy Grimthorpe would rather remember the good days (Simon Cooper/PA)

“It wasn’t what we’d hoped for, there’s no doubt about that, but we owed her – not the other way around,” he said. “The pleasure she has given us has been exceptional in every way.

“Three King Georges, two Arc de Triomphes, Breeders’ Cup, Eclipse, Oaks, Irish Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks. It’s an extraordinary CV for any racehorse.

“Prince Khalid appreciates keeping horses in training and he accepts (what can happen), it just hasn’t worked out the way we hoped it would.

“The ground was very soft and she didn’t act on it well enough.

“She did get a nasty bump, but they had gone quite slowly and it turned into a bit of a sprint – that’s not an excuse, if she’d been going well enough that sort of thing doesn’t happen, so we can’t say that is why she was beaten.

“She’s been exceptional, but there’ll be no immediate decision – we’ll get her back, look at things, check her out and give it some thought and most importantly come up with an answer.”

Proud Grimthorpe hoping to see Enable sign off in style

Teddy Grimthorpe has highlighted the skill of John Gosden and his team in ensuring Enable arrives in Paris for a fourth successive year in peak condition on Sunday.

Is it rare for a top-class Flat horse to remain in training as a six-year-old, especially a mare – but owner Khalid Abdullah made a sporting decision to keep Enable in training this season having come so agonisingly close to racing history 12 months ago.

As no horse has ever won Europe’s premier race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, three times, the sportsman in Abdullah came to the fore and he delayed the decision to retire Enable to have one more shot at immortality.

“In races like this, it’s such a monumental day you cannot discount any horse – it never turns out how you think it is going to,” said Grimthorpe, Abdullah’s long-standing racing manager.

“We just have to concentrate on her and Frankie (Dettori) is the best man to have.

“Just to even run in the race four times – given how difficult it is to get to a particular race on a particular day – to do it four years in a row, without pre-empting as she hasn’t lined up yet, but all being well to run in four Arcs, it is a tremendous feat by John and everyone at Clarehaven.”

Win or lose this weekend, Grimthorpe does not think there is much more Enable could have achieved with three King Georges, two Arcs, the English and Irish Oaks and a Breeders’ Cup among her 15 victories.

Frankie Dettori returns on Enable after winning a third King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes earlier this season
Frankie Dettori returns on Enable after winning a third King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes earlier this season (Dan Abraham/PA)

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“She had a really busy three-year-old campaign, missed the first half of her four-year-old season but went and won at the Breeders’ Cup after a second Arc,” said Grimthorpe.

“Obviously we are very biased and everyone has opinions about everything, but the only thing I would say is that her CV stands up to the closest scrutiny.

“The amount of Group One winners she has beaten in her career is staggering and we couldn’t have asked any more of her really.”

Not surprisingly, Gosden fears the testing ground could slow Enable down in the final few strides – just as it did last year when Waldgeist reeled her in.

Speaking to talkSPORT2, Gosden said: “She’s in very good form, we’ve designed the whole season around this day. She won a King George then had a prep at Kempton so she’s ready for this.

“Everyone is concerned about the ground, it could be for specialists, but we’ve planned this for a year.

“She handles cut in the ground, but her best races have been on good to soft. Last year it was testing and it found her out in the last 100 yards. Possibly our jockey might be a bit more patient this time. It’s the same for everyone, but it will suit some more than others.

“I’ll leave tactics up to Frankie, though, he’s ridden in 30 Arcs so it’s pointless me telling him want to do. He’ll ride it how he feels it.”

Stradivarius was in a different league to his rivals in the Gold Cup in June
Stradivarius was in a different league to his rivals in the Gold Cup in June (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Asked how he would feel if Stradivarius came to beat Enable, Gosden replied: “You must let every horse take its chance, the owner/breeder Bjorn Nielsen has been keen to run and there’s a history of good stayers running well in the Arc.

“In the conditions it will bring his stamina into play. Even he might find the ground a bit much, though – although we thought for years he wanted top of the ground and he won an Ascot Gold Cup by 10 lengths on soft.

“This is a different ball game but if he doesn’t sink in too far, he doesn’t have the biggest of feet, he’s capable of a big performance.”

Mogul won the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood earlier this year
Mogul won the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood earlier this year (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Aidan O’Brien is another who must be cursing the weather gods and he felt the ground could be so bad he even took out Love, who had been favourite since July.

Nevertheless, he still runs four, including Grand Prix de Paris winner Mogul and Serpentine, shock winner of the Derby in June. Japan and Sovereign are the other representatives for Ballydoyle.

“We were delighted with Mogul in the Grand Prix de Paris and we felt he was slowly starting to come right,” O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing.

“We’d always ridden him fairly close to the pace, but he’d always shown a lot of speed in his work so we decided last time to ride him for speed and Pierre-Charles (Boudot) gave him a beautiful ride and we got a great result, we’ve been happy since. The ground won’t be ideal but his brother, Japan, handles an ease.

“We think Japan will improve from the Irish Champion but we were a little disappointed. A mile and a half will suit him better.

“Christophe (Soumillon) was happy with Serpentine (behind Mogul), he’d had a big break after Epsom. We went to France using it as a prep for the Arc which Christophe knew.

“He’ll go forward, he doesn’t have to lead but he will if no one else wants, he’s uncomplicated. He’s drawn wide (15), but Christophe knows the horse well.

“Sovereign should be suited by the tempo of a mile and a half rather than the Irish Leger last time.”

Logician takes Doncaster return in his stride

Plans have yet to be made for Logician following his successful comeback at Doncaster last week.

The John Gosden-trained grey had been out of action for almost a year after winning last season’s St Leger, having suffered a life-threatening illness during the winter.

He faced only one rival on Town Moor and unexpectedly had little trouble in winning, but despite holding entries at Ascot on British Champions Day over 10 furlongs and two miles, no decision on whether the unbeaten Frankel colt goes there will be made for some time.

“He’s come out of it fine, I’m pleased to say,” said owner Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe.

“He seems to be in good shape after it and it was everything we could have hoped for actually as a race.

“It was almost a year to the day since he won the St Leger and he had been seriously ill over the winter, so we were going into the unknown a bit to say the least. But the way he came out of it pleased us.

“We’ve got no real plans as such. I think John’s inclination is to go gently and we really wanted to see how he came out of the race and see how he progresses before making a decision.”

A debrief for the Logician team at Doncaster
A debrief for the Logician team at Doncaster (David Davies/PA)

With Enable almost certain to be retired following her run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe next month, Logician looks set to be a standard bearer for the team next term.

“He’s an important horse for Prince Khalid and we’re treating him very much with next year in mind,” said Grimthorpe.

“You have to treat each horse on their merits so we’ll keep monitoring him. He’s still unbeaten in six races and is a very exciting horse – hopefully there’s more to come.

“To say it was a two-runner race the other day the time was respectable, all things considered.”