Japan primed to wreck Enable’s bid to secure record third King George victory at Ascot


‘We always had it in our minds that this would be Japan’s first big target of the season: Aidan O’Brien’s star primed to wreck Enable’s bid to secure record third King George victory at Ascot

  • Enable will seek to secure record third King George victory at Ascot
  • O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition on Saturday
  • Japan has always seemed the cream of O’Brien’s colt crop in a disrupted season

Aidan O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition if she is to land an historic third King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory at Ascot on Saturday.

John Gosden has emphasised that Enable’s second place to Ghaiyyath in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown sharpened her up for this afternoon’s Group One prize.

But O’Brien, who also saddles 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and 2019 Irish Derby winner Sovereign in the four-runner contest, says the same applies to his No 1 hope Japan, who was a head behind Enable when third in the Eclipse.

Japan has always seemed the cream of Aidan O’Brien’s colt crop in a disrupted season

That run followed a below-par comeback when fourth to Lord North in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. Japan was third in last year’s Derby, but always seemed the cream of O’Brien’s colt crop in a disrupted season. He won the Juddmonte International, the Grand Prix de Paris and was fourth in the Arc.

O’Brien said: ‘Everything in Japan’s two runs this year was about going to the King George. He got upset in the stalls and missed the break in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. The race didn’t suit and he got a little tired.

‘Then he ran a great race in the Eclipse Stakes. We felt he was going to progress big time for it. Everything about his work since has been very good.

‘We always had it in our minds that this would be Japan’s first big target of the season.’

Aidan O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition on Saturday

Aidan O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition on Saturday 

Gosden’s assertion that the competitive fire still burns brightly within Enable was probably backed up by her Eclipse effort.

But he has warned not to expect fireworks from a six-year-old mare who is a more measured performer than the exuberant three-year-old filly who won her first King George in 2017 by a sparkling four-and-a-half lengths from Ulysses.

Her neck success from Crystal Ocean last year was a thriller but one in which she always looked in control, with Frankie Dettori only giving Enable one flick of his whip as he nursed her home.

A third Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe win at Longchamp in October is the big aim but success today would be a major milestone. It would not only elevate her above Swain and Dahlia — the two other dual King George winners — but mean she had won 11 Group One races, one more than Frankel.

Victory would also see Dettori move level with Lester Piggott on seven wins in the race.

O’Brien has run 19 different horses against Enable and never beaten her but now hopes his time has come.

Dismissing chatter that Ballydoyle’s strength in numbers may be a tactical advantage as a ‘load of nonsense’, he added: ‘It will be a great race to watch — Frankie on Enable and Ryan Moore on Japan. It is going to be one of the great matches at a great track. It’s what racing is all about.’



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John Gosden insists Enable is ‘back in the zone’ in bid to secure record third King George victory


John Gosden insists Enable is ‘back in the zone’ in bid to secure record third  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory at Ascot

  • Trainer Gosden has not seen a drop in performance from the six-year-old mare
  • She faces Anthony Van Dyck, Japan and Sovereign, all trained by Aidan O’Brien
  • It is the smallest field since 1964 for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

John Gosden says Enable is ‘back in the zone’ as she bids to become the first three-time winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

The trainer believes Sandown’s Eclipse Stakes, in which Frankie Dettori’s mount was beaten by Ghaiyyath earlier this month, was the perfect platform for Saturday’s race and sees no drop in the competitive spirit that has delivered 13 wins for the six-year-old mare owned by Khalid Abdullah, including two Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.

Gosden said: ‘I did not expect her to win the Eclipse. She’s a six-year-old racemare and not that wild, exuberant three-year-old race filly who could just do anything. She did well to finish second.

Enable faces three Aidan O’Brien-trained rivals in her bid for a record third King George win

‘I am looking forward to running her because she is up for it now. She behaved beautifully at Sandown when she was still not in the zone. I feel she is back in it.’

Enable, the 1-2 favourite, faces only three rivals: Anthony Van Dyck, Japan and Sovereign, all trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Meanwhile, Gosden says Stradivarius faces the ‘greatest challenge of his life’ when he attempts to become the first horse to win the Goodwood Cup four times on Tuesday.

The three-time Ascot Gold Cup winner must concede 15lb to O’Brien’s Irish Derby winner Santiago in the two-mile Group One race.



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Continue Reading John Gosden insists Enable is ‘back in the zone’ in bid to secure record third King George victory

Aidan O’Brien team bid to deny Enable third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot


Aidan O’Brien team bid to deny Enable recond-breaking third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot

  • Aidan O’Brien is hoping one of his six entires can claim victory at Ascot
  • Enable is looking to win King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes for third time
  • John Gosden-trained stablemate Fanny Logan is also in the running on Saturday

The massed ranks of the Aidan O’Brien team stand between Enable and her attempt to make history by winning a third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

O’Brien is responsible for six of the eight entries in British racing’s most prestigious midsummer middle-distance race.

With Enable joined by John Gosden-trained stablemate and Hardwicke Stakes winner Fanny Logan, the King George is a private shoot-out between the two most powerful Flat stables in British and Irish Flat racing.

The Aidan O’Brien team stand between Enable and her attempt to make history by winning a third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday

That bare fact demonstrates an uncomfortable truth – that the best middle-distance horses are in the care of an ever-reducing number of trainers – but take away the trainers’ names and Enable will arguably face the best currently available.

The exception, given that the delayed running of the Oaks and Derby meant quality three-year-olds were less likely to be entered, is Enable’s Charlie Appleby-trained Eclipse Stakes conqueror Ghaiyyath who is being saved for next month’s Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

However, take away the distraction of the trainer names and the opposition for Enable could include Eclipse third Japan, old rival and 2019 Champion Stakes winner Magical, 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and 2019 Irish Derby winner Sovereign.

Coral and Ladbrokes make Enable 10-11 favourite to secure her third King George win under Frankie Dettori, who has said he feels the mare has sharpened up for her Eclipse comeback.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Enable’s owner Khaled Abdullah, said: ‘Everything has been straightforward since the Eclipse and we think she’s come on for that run.’

CORAL BETTING: 10-11 Enable, 11-4 Magical, 4-1 Japan, 10-1 Fanny Logan, 12-1 Anthony Van Dyck, 20-1 Magic Wand, Sovereign, 25-1 Sir Dragonet



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Start time of the Derby on July 4 put back by 25 minutes in bid to attract a bigger TV audience


Start time of the Investec Derby on July 4 put back by 25 minutes in bid to attract a bigger TV audience

  • The most important race of the Flat season will be run behind closed doors
  • The start time on July 4 will avoid a clash with Premier League matches 
  • The Epsom card includes the Investec Oaks and Princess Elizabeth Stakes 

The Investec Derby on July 4 has been put back to 4.55pm in a bid to attract a bigger television audience.

The start time is 25 minutes later than recent runnings and will avoid a clash with Premier League matches.

Manchester United are scheduled to kick off at 3pm against Bournemouth on July 4, while Wolves take on Arsenal from 5.30pm. 

The most important race of the Flat season will be run behind closed doors at Epsom this year

The most important race of the Flat season will be run behind closed doors at Epsom and Phil White, director for the Jockey Club London region racecourses, said: ‘We’re always keen to explore ways to enhance our broadcast audience and this unique year has provided us with an opportunity to do that.’

The Epsom card includes the Investec Oaks and Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes, but not the Dash. 

Six of the seven races will be televised by ITV. 




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Continue Reading Start time of the Derby on July 4 put back by 25 minutes in bid to attract a bigger TV audience