Trainer John Gosden is wary and respectful of Enable’s high-class opponents as she bids to regain her crown in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner proved she has lost none of her brilliance with a successful start to her campaign in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown three weeks ago, and will bring the house down if she can follow up on Saturday (Sunday AEST).
Enable produced a devastating display in the 2017 King George and is the raging favourite to become the third dual winner after Dahlia (1973, 1974) and Swain (1997, 1998).
With Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and proven top-class performer Crystal Ocean among those lying in wait, Gosden is under no illusions about the task at hand.
“Enable won the King George as a three-year-old filly getting weight, just as Taghrooda (2014) did,” Gosden said.
“It is a little different when you’re older and suddenly you have a Derby winner coming at you – who’s getting the weight – and a magnificent older horse in Crystal Ocean, who ran a blinder last year and won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes well last month.
“This is no penalty kick, absolutely not. It is a really exciting race with a deep field. Obviously Enable and Crystal Ocean set the standard, and then you have the three-year-olds getting the allowances.
“Enable is up for it, but I just don’t think it is the formality that is indicated (by the betting).”
Enable was unable to defend her title 12 months ago during a troubled summer, and Gosden feels it is testament to both her ability and attitude that she has overcome that adversity to cement her star status.
“She is a pleasure to be around and is a great filly,” he said.
“She had a difficult year last year, and came back from injury and surgery and sickness between the Kempton and the Arc – and still managed to do the job.
“We’ve had a smoother run this year. She has maintained her enthusiasm for racing and really enjoys her work – and as long as Frankie (Dettori) stops training her and I’m allowed to train her and he rides her, we might get there!”