Enable claimed her 10th Group One race on Thursday when she won the Yorkshire Oaks, putting her on course to make history in winning Europe’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for a third time on October 6.
She is just the latest in a long line of successes for her elderly Saudi Arabian owner Prince Khalid Abdullah.
Here AFP Sport picks out three of his best:
Not many horses retire with a perfect record — even Enable will have at least one defeat to her name — but the mighty Frankel did achieve that feat, bowing out with 14 wins in 14 races. He won the English 2000 Guineas in 2011 by six lengths, the largest winning distance since 1947. His exploits had added pathos due to his trainer Henry Cecil.
The Englishman’s fortunes both on and off the track — his twin brother died in 2000, he went through a messy divorce and he was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 — had slumped and had fewer than 50 horses in training.
However, Abdullah remained loyal and was rewarded as Frankel gave Cecil a suitable finale to his career and his unassuming jockey Tom Queally deserved time in the limelight. Though Cecil was visibly weakened from his battle with cancer, which had returned, he only missed one of Frankel’s 14 races. There was barely a dry eye at Ascot on his 14th and last victory in 2012 as the crowd chanted ‘Our ‘Enry’ and Frankel performed a lap of honour round the parade ring. “He (Frankel) has given me so much strength,” said Cecil who died the following year.
Guy Harwood was not held in as much affection by the racing fraternity but he knew how to train a racehorse. Dancing Brave was the finest example of that. He could have completed the 2000 Guineas/Epsom Derby double in 1986 but jockey Greville Starkey was slammed for leaving him far too much to do at the Derby as winner Shahrastani still had half a length over him. The late Pat Eddery replaced Starkey and he guided him to victory in Europe’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
It was a performance befitting a champion in one of the greatest fields in the race’s history. Eddery had to switch him to the outside as he faced a wall of nine horses in front with only a couple of furlongs to race. However, any ground he lost there he made up for with an astonishing burst of acceleration to take the glory. Harwood — who retired in 1996 — said he was the best horse he trained.
“He was the best,” agreed Eddery. “He had a lovely quality about him, really laid-back.”
A redoubtable filly who gave Cecil some much-needed Group One success before the Frankel years. She won a place in her trainer’s heart for good in winning the Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Turf at the back end of the 2009 season at Santa Anita. “To win here certainly lived up to expectations in the excitement and thrill,” said Cecil. Midday was to go on and win a record three Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
“She was all heart,” was Cecil’s assessment.
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