Overview of the careers of the top two horses in the Gosden Yard
As the winner of 2017’s Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Enable has shown she’s got the big race pedigree and as the favourite in the racing odds again this year, she’ll take some beating. However, sharing a trainer with the other stand out horse in the field for this year, and second favourite for the Arc, Cracksman, it will be quite a battle for #1.
Bred in England by her owner Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Arms, she is from a crop of foals sired by Nathaniel, who was a winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2011. Her dam, Concentric had similar successes’ in France, winning listed races.
Her two-year season went as well as could have been expected, winning her maiden race over one mile on the synthetic track at Newcastle Racecourse, starting at odds of 7/2, she was restrained towards the rear for much of the race before taking the lead in the final straight and pulling well clear to end up winning by nearly four lengths.
Taking this in to her three-year-old season wasn’t as straightforward as initially hoped, placing third in her first race in the spring, a minor stakes race over 10 furlongs at Newbury. Starting at a price of 5/1 it was hoped she would fare better. In her next outing she was stepped up in class to take part in the Cheshire Oaks at Chester Racecourse and was made the 2/1 second-choice behind the Aidan O’Brien horse, Alluringly. Jockeyed by Frankie Dettori, Enable made light work of the field, finishing in first place even after being eased in the final stretch of the race by Dettori winning by just under two lengths.
The summer of her three year old season is where Enable really took off and cemented itself as a horse to be reckoned with, winning the Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks, KGVI and QE stakes, the Yorkshire oaks before lining up a run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe for the Autumn.
At Chantilly Racecourse on the 1st October, Enable, with Dettori in the saddle, started as the overwhelming favourite for the Arc, the most prestigious race she could have been involved in. After a tough start to the race, tracking the leaders from third for the majority of it, Enable took the lead in the final straight. Racing past all in front of her she finished two and half lengths in front of Cloth of Stars to win the Arc.
Enable was named Champion Three-year-old Filly and Horse of the Year for 2017 and in the 2017 World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, Enable was named the fifth-best horse in the entire world and the best three-year-old filly.
All of Cracksman’s early upbringing pointed towards being a future champion. Cracksman is one of the first foals sired by the great Frankel, with his dam being a fairly successful horse named Rhadegunda. Cracksman was bred in England by his owner, enigmatic diamond trader Anthony Oppenheimer’s Hascombe and Valiant Studs and soon sent into traininf with John Gosden in Newmarket.
On his debut in a one-mile maiden race at Newmarket on 19th Ocotber 2016, ridden by Robert Havlin, Crackman made light work of the early running, coming up from the rear to take the lead in the final furlong before stretching his lead to nearly two lengths from Wild Tempest of Godolphin.
Beginning his second season at the Investec Derby Trial over 10 furlongs at Epsom, saddled by Frankie Dettori, the start of the race was a pretty poor. Struggling early on it was feared that Cracksman didn’t have what it takes however moving into the later stages of the race he pulled clear of the rest of the field in a great effort to win the race by a short head.
Finishing his three-year-old season with further Major wins in the Great Voltiguer Stakes, the Prix Niel and finally the Champion Stakes, Cracksman was highly regarded. At the Cartier Racing Awards, Cracksman was honoured as the Champion Three-year-old colt and then at the 2017 World's Best Racehorse Rankings, Cracksman was rated the third-best horse in the world, the best horse in all of Europe and the best three-year-old racing.
With Enable currently the favourite for the 2018 Arc, Cracksman is breathing down her neck as second favourite and it will be interesting to see which Gosden trained horse will come out on top.