It’s a big weekend for Enable as connections prime her for another tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe next month.
However, the decision to swerve the Yorkshire Oaks, where she would have clashed with the best three-year-old filly in training, and instead take in the Group 3 September Stakes at Kempton means the racing public are likely to learn no more than the fact that the six-year-old still has a leg in each corner.
Stablemate Logician won’t be turning up for the gig, which means the dual Arc heroine will not need to break sweat to see off a bunch of horses rated vastly inferior providing she is on song.
Of course, it’s easy to see why connections are going down this route, but where does it leave punters that are trying to calculate whether the John Gosden-trained mare can make amends for last year’s defeat to Waldgeist and win Europe’s premier mile-and-a-half race for a third time?
Well it’s all pretty straightforward really. If the unthinkable were to happen and she got beat, then the resulting post-mortem would most likely result in Enable not even boarding the ferry across the channel.
The most likely scenario, however, is that she’ll stroll to a four or five length victory and have her odds shortened to nearer 2/1 than her current 11/4 meaning she would be challenging Love for favouritism.
Instantly, the race becomes a dream for those working in the marketing department of all major bookmakers: Enable v Love – the ultimate clash of the generations. However, at least one of them is rotten value at those prices and there are no prizes for guessing which one.
To my eyes, Enable’s task at Longchamp looks a mammoth one, not least because she must concede 7lb to her younger market rival. Throw in all the other things that can go wrong in such a race, a wide draw, bad ground, a bad trip, not to mention the chance that Enable might not even be as good as she was when beaten in the race last year, and we have a terrible value bet.
This might sound a bit mad but hear me out – I think there is even a chance that Enable isn’t even the best mile-and-a-half horse at Clarehaven Stables and Logician, had he avoided the problems that have held him back this summer, would have a much better chance of providing HRH Prince Khalid Abdulla with another Arc trophy.
To an extent, we are still in the dark about how good Logician is or could be, but last year’s brilliant St Leger winner was easily the horse I was most excited about seeing again this season.
Things clearly haven’t gone smoothly for the unbeaten grey son of Frankel this season because we are still waiting to see him, but Logician has taken a long time to fill out his enormous frame. But I hear that Newmarket work watchers believe he is well on the way to reaching his physical peak, which makes him a hugely exciting prospect for the big middle-distance races.
When I say middle distance races, I’m obviously making an assumption – there is of course the potential for connections to go down the staying route but at this stage the big mile-and-a-half races next are reportedly the plan for next year.
One horse that may end up following in the footsteps of Logician is Galileo Chrome, whose performance in a Listed contest at Navan at the weekend was so impressive that it would be no exaggeration to say that he’s arguably the most exciting three-year-old colt in Ireland right now.
Having watched his charge power clear of some exciting yardsticks, Joseph O’Brien must surely be tempted to have a crack at the Doncaster showpiece in a couple of weeks. He looks to have all the attributes required to land the 1m6f contest and could easily provide Joseph with his first English Classic.
If Joseph O’Brien does decide to run Galileo Chrome at Doncaster, let us hope that the trainer is joined on Town Moor by members of the public.
As things stand, the four-day Pertemps-sponsored St Leger meeting at Doncaster is going to open its doors to the paying public for the first time this season and that’s great news for the course, and even better news for on course bookmakers who have been starved of any income since lockdown kicked in.
But once their opportunity to operate arises, then new betting sites need to maximise their opportunity by ensuring that they cater for punters wishing to stake via contactless or debit card.
I’ve seen some opposition to this from the laying fraternity but the demise of cash has only been accelerated by events of this year, and that means bookmakers need to move with the times and accommodate punters no matter what method of payment they prefer.
Back on the track, the sprinting division is severely lacking a star right now and the withdrawal of Oxted from Saturday’s Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock is a real blow.
Oxted, who provided us with one of the most joyous moments of the season so far when landing the July Cup, is a sprinter on the up and this looked a great opportunity for him to cement his position as the best sprinter on the circuit, in a division where consistency among those that compete at group level is really lacking.
New favourite Dream Of Dreams looked really good when routing his Hungerford Stakes opposition and official ratings make him the best horse in Saturday’s race, but he looked so good over 7f last time that the return to sprinting has to be a slight concern, especially if the ground dries out.
Drying ground also spells trouble for the three-year-old, Art Power, and last year’s winner Hello Youmzain, so punters may be best steering clear of those at the top of the market.
Jim Crowley has had a season to remember but it could get even better if his choice of mounts, Tabdeed, can build on his Group 3 success at Newbury.
That form looks rock-solid for the grade while there must be a very strong chance we still haven’t seen the best of this lightly-raced five-year-old.
It looks particularly significant that Crowley has chosen the potential of Tabdeed over fellow Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Khaadem, who was fourth in the July Cup last time.