ext week’s seismic clash in the Yorkshire Oaks is off, connections of Enable having decided to prioritise her attempt to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for an unprecedented third time. It had been hoped that she would line up on the Knavesmire against Love, the much-feted Irish filly who won the Oaks by nine lengths.
That would have turned the York race, a week on Thursday, into a mini-Arc, since Enable and Love are the top two in the betting for the Paris race in early October. But it has been decided that might not be the ideal preparation for the older mare, a six-year-old.
“It’s a fine balance,” said Lord Grimthorpe, who speaks for Enable’s owner, Khalid Abdullah. “The Arc is the main objective. Getting her there in the best possible shape, maybe the the September Stakes is the correct route.
“Like all these things, it’s a judgement call. She came out of the Ascot race well but maybe the timing is going to be more suitable this way.
“I know she’s gone from the Yorkshire Oaks to winning an Arc in the past, but she’s also gone from the Yorkshire Oaks to be second in the Arc as well. She is six, so we want to try and get her there in the best possible shape.”
As chairman of York racecourse, Lord Grimthorpe would surely have enjoyed the prospect of such a high-profile clash on the Knavesmire. But he added: “The Yorkshire Oaks will be a hot race, whoever turns up.”
It is widely assumed that this will be Enable’s last year in training, though no official decision has been made. If so, the September Stakes on 5 September appears likely to be Enable’s final race in Britain.
Monday’s best bets
Peltwell (4.45) is the most interesting runner of the day, in a handicap hurdle at Southwell. She was a really good second on her handicap debut at Chepstow in October, when it could fairly be said that she bumped into one; the winner went up 11lb, won again and went up another 10lb.
Peltwell beat her other 15 rivals that day by six lengths and was lucky not to go up more than 4lb. Heavy ground undermined her effort on her only subsequent start but she should be a live runner back on a sound surface here, with the extra half-mile also likely to help. It’s a pity she was suddenly cut from 11-1 to 6-1 on Sunday evening but she is drifting back out a bit now to 15-2 and bigger in places.
At 13-2, Alexander The Grey (1.15) is back in a race he can win. He was flying too high and at too short a distance when he reappeared in a 0-130 at Newton Abbot but will be sharper for that run and is reunited with Lilly Pinchin, who was aboard for his only success, at Ludlow in October.
Southwell: 1.15 Alexander The Grey 1.45 The Butcher Said 2.15 Isaac Wonder 2.45 Winton 3.15 Gerboise Borget 3.45 Lleyton 4.15 Cool Destination 4.45 Peltwell (nb) 5.20 LondoniaLeicester: 1.30 Forever Forward 2.00 Cider Apple 2.30 Forbidden Beauty 3.00 Champagne Angel 3.30 Alben Spirit 4.00 Sorrel 4.30 Stunning Beauty 5.00 FurqaanChester: 4.25 State Patrol 4.55 Different Face 5.30 Aces 6.00 Regional 6.30 Judicial (nap) 7.00 Desert Icon 7.30 G For Gabrial 8.00 Gabrial The One
Backing him means going against a Fergal O’Brien favourite, which is anything but a sure road to profit. But Robyndzone is up 10lb for winning a weak race at Bangor.
Hooray for Chester, which returns tonight. Aces (5.30) ran to about his rating of 90 when winning a claimer here in June. Somehow, just three defeats later, he’s half a stone lower and appeals from a good draw at 14-1.