2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf international scouting report: Enable and her challengers

October 28th, 2018

Enable (c) Frank Sorge/Horsephotos.com

The Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) could end up being a one-horse race, if two-time Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) heroine Enable produces anything like a characteristic effort. But if she doesn’t, there’s no shortage of fellow Europeans ready and able to plunder the spoils. It’s a sign of their depth – even in the absence of Capri and Crystal Ocean – that defending champion Talismanic can be overlooked in the shuffle.

We’ll go through the Europeans methodically before finishing with the recent South American shipper.

ENABLE: The latest Juddmonte world-beater compiled an historic resume last season, sweeping the unique treble of the Oaks (G1) (in a stakes-record 2:34.13 at Epsom), Irish Oaks (G1), and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (G1) over older males. Then she wired the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) as her stepping stone to her first Arc, where she traveled with her usual verve before kicking clear.

Enable figured to have a path of conquest laid out for her in 2018, only to be sidelined in May by a knee injury. Trainer John Gosden had the delicate task of bringing her back to fitness in time for an Arc title defense, without pushing her prematurely. He and his team pulled it off, despite a last-minute hiccup.

The September S. (G3) over Kempton’s Polytrack served as the ideal comeback from her 11-month hiatus. Enable had the run of the race over just three rivals, two no-hopers looking for a placing and Crystal Ocean having to give her eight pounds. Frankie Dettori sent her right to the lead and it was mission accomplished by a ready 3 1/2 lengths.

Instead of an upward trajectory into ParisLongchamp, however, Enable came down with a fever. Although a very brief interruption, her timetable was already tight enough with no margin for error.

Enable was understandably not quite the same force, but like a true champion, she managed to prevail anyway. Hard-charging runner-up Sea of Class was arguably unlucky from her wide draw, or else the result might have been different. Still, if you can achieve the unheard-of feat of winning the Arc second start off the layoff, with less than your best, that’s something.