Frankie Dettori and 'superstar' Enable storm to victory at Ascot
In a competitive field for the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the three-year-old filly made the race look easy.
Enable and Frankie Dettori teamed up, as they did in both the English and Irish Oaks, to win the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in emphatic style on Saturday.
In heavy rain, the Italian jockey sent the John Gosden-trained three-year-old filly to the front on the home stretch and turned the 2,400-metre race into a procession at Ascot.
Enable crossed the finish line four and-a-half lengths ahead of the Eclipse winner Ulysses under Jim Crowley with Seamie Heffernan on Idaho a further three-quarter length behind in third.
Watch Enable's win
Highland Reel was fourth with the Godolphin runners coming well-short in the race with Benbatle (fifth), Maverick Wave (eighth) and Jack Hobbs (ninth) in the 10-runner field. Dettori, 46, had to reduce 3kgs in six days to make the weight to ride the filly.
“It was worth it,” Dettori said post-race as he reflected on the victory and his own fight to recover from injury to be able to get back in the saddle. “She is a superstar. It means a lot to me, I missed the whole of Royal Ascot [due to a shoulder injury] and to come back to the place I love so much, it’s great.
“She’s as good as I’ve ridden, to win the King George by four lengths – she is the real deal and I love her so much. I’ll have a big dinner tonight, that’s for sure.”
Dettori had Enable well-placed behind the Godolphin’s pacemaker Maverick Wave before taking up the running as they swept on to the 400m home stretch. Maverick Wave as expected moved to the front to set the early pace under Graham Lee followed by Enable. Ryan Moore raced in third on Highland Rebel with Jack Hobbs under William Buick in-between in fourth.
Moore could not find anything extra as the race progressed but Buick on Jack Hobbs moved alongside Enable, briefly, as the Dubai Sheema Classic winner faded from the main scene in the final stages of the race.
Enable had won both the English and Irish Oaks by a combined 10 and-a-half lengths, and tackling colts and older horses for the first time in her career, she made the high-class field look ordinary on the day with a dominant display.
“The facts show she can do it on any ground,” said Gosden who had previously trained Taghrooda (2014) and Nathaniel (2011) to win the King George. “Frankie was bold. She breaks well and is very business-like. It wasn’t the plan to be that close, but she was getting weight from the older horses. I thought Ulysses made a brave run at her and I thought Maverick Wave did a beautiful job pacemaking.
“All in all, she’s as good a filly as I’ve ever trained – Taghrooda was brilliant to win this and she’s following Dahlia [winner of the race in 1973 and 1974] and Pawneese .”
Enable is a daughter of the 2011 winner Nathaniel and she becomes only the eighth filly or mare to win since the inaugural running of the race in 1951.
Updated: July 29, 2017 10:12 PM