The much-anticipated return of last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Enable will be anything but a cakewalk, with John Gosden’s brilliant filly set to take on Michael Stoute’s King George runner-up Crystal Ocean at Kempton tomorrow.
All-weather racing has rarely witnessed such equine quality but the Group Three September Stakes pitches the star-studded pair, with Enable on the comeback trail having not raced since last October.
A lack of race fitness may impede her efforts but the daughter of Nathaniel – rated 1lb inferior to Crystal Ocean – is in receipt of 8lb from last year’s English St Leger runner-up due to the conditions of the intriguing five-runner 1m4f contest.
Frankie Dettori is unbeaten on Enable, winning her last six races, but Crystal Ocean’s regular pilot Ryan Moore – aboard for his three wins this season including Royal Ascot’s Hardwicke Stakes – will be in Haydock to ride for Aidan O’Brien and David Probert deputises.
Probert is relishing the task: “Crystal Ocean is a very nice horse – a top-level performer. He ran a very good race in the King George and has been running consistently well all year. We’re taking on the filly (Enable), who is getting 8lb, but he has got to have a big chance.”
Elsewhere, champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins has his eyes on another prestigious Flat prize, with 11 possible runners including Royal Ascot winner Lagostovegas and beaten Ebor favourite Stratumin for next month’s English Cesarewitch.
With just over €550,000 up for grabs at Newmarket, the Closutton maestro is intent on breaking his duck and last year’s third, Lagostovegas, tops a decent cast having led home a Mullins 1-3-4-5 at Ascot.
Other notable contenders include Cheltenham Festival winner Limini and talented dual-purpose performer Whiskey Sour while Laws Of Spin, Meri Devie, Gustavus Vassa, Low Sun, Uradel, Chelkar and Law Girl complete his team.
The Mullins squad is part of a 21-strong Irish entry of 84 which also features five trained by O’Brien and one, Light Pillar, trained by Aidan’s son, Joseph with the weights headed by Hughie Morrison’s Nearly Caught and Jim Bolger’s Twilight Payment.