Eclipse Stakes Antepost Betting Preview: All about Enable

John Gosden
John Gosden holds the key to the Eclipse with Enable, says Will Hoffmann

In his latest antepost column on the big flat races of the summer, Will Hoffmann previews the Eclipse Stakes which is all about Enable.

"What she has in her favour is she has a very high cruising speed. She takes an enthusiastic hold in her races, and Frankie is usually looking to restrain her rather than ask her to go faster. Possessing that kind of cruising speed will allow her to adopt the prominent position that she'll need to make best use of her stamina at this trip."

Back Enable while you can

Sometimes you have to trust that things are as simple as they look. The 2019 Coral Eclipse would look to be one of those occasions. Enable should win.

Enable is the best horse in training, and the best horse I've seen, certainly since Kingman, probably since Frankel. One of my favourite topics is the "speed triumverate" (my own turn of phrase) which discusses the different types of pace horses possess: travelling, tactical and finishing speed. My simple hypothesis is they draw from each other and, if you possess one at a high level, you're likely to be deficient in one of the other areas.

Kingman, for example, had the best turn of foot (tactical speed) I've ever seen but the one occasion he was beaten was where that speed was blunted in a strongly run Guineas. Dee Ex Bee - a more recent example - possesses no tactical speed whatsoever but you won't see a more genuine horse in training at the death of the race.

There are rare exceptions who possess all three. Frankel was one. Enable may well be another. In her early days, she lacked tactical speed. If you rewatch her Oaks, you'll see that the O'Brien charge in second travelled much more strongly than her and looked the winner before Enable's stamina kicked in. As she's gained more experience, however, that small chink in her armour seems to have disappeared. She quickened better than anything in last year's Arc - a race where she was well below her best - and it was only late on that her lack of match practice (nearly) caught her out.

A different type of test for Enable

The reason I'm going into this is that the Eclipse Stakes is a new test for her. She's only raced over 10-furlongs once in her life. She was beaten. It wasn't the trip that beat her, of course. At least not entirely. It was her second racecourse start, she was still green and inexperienced and she took an age to quicken. She's a different horse now, obviously, but it's still worth pondering.

Enable 1280.jpg

What she has in her favour is she has a very high cruising speed. She takes an enthusiastic hold in her races, and Frankie is usually looking to restrain her rather than ask her to go faster. Possessing that kind of cruising speed will allow her to adopt the prominent position that she'll need to make best use of her stamina at this trip. Also in her favour is the track. Sandown has just about the stiffest finish in the flat game and, while I'm sure there are pacier horses present, Frankie will undoubtedly ensure that he makes the correct use of her staying power to draw out the speed from the racier types present.

Is there anything else that's making her 9/4 when I think she should be even money? Well, the exchange price is broadly matching industry prices which suggests this definitely is the intended target. You also have to factor in that this is her first run of the season, albeit Gosden's given her plenty of time and her withdrawal from Ascot suggests he's not taking any chances as to her fitness. Clearly there's some tough opposition out there, but the exchange is speaking less favourably about this being their target.

Horse of the moment Crystal Ocean - who won the Prince of Wales Stakes in an excellent time - is 5/1 with the Sportsbook but last traded at 9.89/1 on the machine. The King George was nominated as his target. Magical and Sea of Class look similarly unlikely to take their chances here, the former named may be the beneficiary of a mid-season break, Sea of Class's nominated target the King George later in the month. The remainder, the likes of Circus Maximus, Regal Reality and Phoenix of Spain all look about two tiers down from Enable's level.

Zabeel Prince interested me to some degree. He wouldn't have been suited by the going at Ascot - it had turned pretty soft by the time he ran - and, although I think he's more of a mile type, he's a highly able horse worth one more try over the 10-furlong trip. That said, even if he runs to a lifetime PB, he's still unlikely to get overhaul Enable.

Enable is the second best horse of the last decade and, based on the intended targets of the others, looks likely to be taking on a bunch of Group-2 horses at best. That 9/4 won't last and I can see her hovering around the even money come race time. Grab the price while you can.

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