Gosden’s Enable lands fillies’ Classic
Trainer John Gosden has proved himself a bit of a ladies’ man, as he secured his second victory in The Oaks in just four years.
The Newmarket-based trainer watched on as Enable beat the favourite by five lengths to take the third British Classic of 2017, a race restricted to three-year-old fillies.
It follows Gosden’s success with Taghrooda in the 2014 Oaks, with both horses ridden by Frankie Dettori.
The race, run on Friday at Epsom, was full of drama as a bolt of lightning split the sky, causing Daddys Lil Darling to bolt for home — her jockey, Olivier Peslier, was forced to throw himself off and the horse was withdrawn.
What followed was a downpour of epic proportions, with the latter stage of the race run in driving rain.
Enable, who Gosden trained to win the Eclipse and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes — beat the 8/11 favourite Rhododendron.
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.
“Frankie and Ryan knew they had the two best fillies.
“We 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).”
Enable is a first-crop daughter of Nathaniel and was bred by her owner, Khalid Abdullah.
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 veteran 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.”