Enable wins the Oaks to give Nathaniel first crop Classic winner

Filed on 3 Jun 2017 @ 14:39

Enable (Nathaniel) won the Group One Investec Oaks on Friday to give Nathaniel a first crop Classic winner and a second victory in the premier fillies' Classic for trainer John Gosden, after Taghrooda's success in 2014.

Enable, a first-crop daughter of Nathaniel - who Gosden trained to win the Eclipse and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes - was sent off at odds of 6/1, beat the 8/11 favourite Rhododendron by five lengths. She was bred by her owner, Khalid Abdullah.

It was a dramatic renewal of the race - lightning split the sky in the preliminaries, during which American-trained Daddys Lil Girl was withdrawn after bolting with jockey Olivier Peslier, who threw himself off her to avoid an accident. A sudden heavy shower meant the latter stages of the race were run in driving rain.

The race developed into a battle between Rhododendron, ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by Aidan O'Brien, and Enable, under Frankie Dettori, but Enable drew away to win by an impressive five lengths.

Gosden said: "That was a real Oaks. The drama before - I hope Olivier is alright, and the flash of lightning when they were loading into the stalls; it was all a bit Hollywood!

"I thought they were two magnificent fillies; they fought hard all down the straight. You could see Ryan and Frankie - they are good mates and they each knew what the other was going to do. They locked on three out, and I must say, from the three [furlong marker] to the one [furlong marker] I thought they were in trouble.

"She is beautifully bred by Juddmonte, and by old Nathaniel! Good old Nathaniel.

"Frankie and Ryan are good mates but they knew they had the two best fillies. Ryan said he was very impressed with our filly when she beat him at Chester. He knew it was going to be a battle. Very exciting. These are fabulous fillies. Enable is in the Taghrooda class [who followed up her Oaks win with victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes]. I felt that after Chester [where she won the Cheshire Oaks]."

Jockey Frankie Dettori was on cloud nine after Enable gave him his fourth success in the Oaks at Epsom this afternoon.

The ebullient Italian won the fillies' Classic on Balanchine in 1994, Moonshell in 1995 and Kazzia in 2002 for Godolphin and Enable's five length victory gives Dettori yet another victory at the highest level.

The market predicted it would be between the 8/11 favourite Rhododendron and 6/1 shot Enable and this is precisely how the race panned out as the pair set sail for home two furlongs out, after long-time leader and pacemaker Pocketfullofdreams faded.

The favourite looked to be travelling the better of the two but Enable stuck to her guns admirably and the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly had no answer to the winner's staying power.

After the race, Dettori revealed that he thought Rhododendron was coming to beat him as the pair came down the straight.

"When I saw Ryan not moving, I thought 'oh God, I'm in trouble!" said the jockey.

"But once I saw the distress signals coming out, I knew my filly would stay right to end and she pulled away in the last furlong.Enable has only run three times (previously) and is very good. She stays well and is still a bit of frame. I think she will get better and better.

"Well done to the team at Clarehaven Stables (trainer John Gosden's yard). They have done a great job."

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah, was also delighted following the race.

"She looked like she was going to have a bit of a tussle with Rhododendron and she did. She really stayed on, lengthened again and really did it - it was utterly brilliant. She was very impressive.

"I think we are in a very fortunate position and I am so thrilled for Prince Khalid. It's his breeding operation and another home-bred Classic winner is so vital for everything. I think we have to enjoy this and then think about the future.

"I am always hopeful, never confident. I am always a bit apprehensive with a Classic. I love the whole atmosphere of Epsom with Investec, Poundland - I think it's fantastic. I think the whole thing has been a real boost for the sport and we are so lucky to be involved."

Filed on 3 Jun 2017 @ 14:39