Short trip puts Enable at risk in the Eclipse
Mare’s nine successive wins have all been over longer distances and Magical can upset odds
The sport of kings welcomes back its queen today as Enable makes her return in the Coral-eclipse at Sandown. The superstar mare has been kept in training in an attempt to make history by winning a recordbreaking third Prix de l’arc de Triomphe in France in October, and connections must be applauded for avoiding the lure of the breeding sheds.
However, if Enable is to be beaten at any point this season, she could be at her most vulnerable this afternoon when she races over a trip clearly short of her best. The John Gosden-trained five-year-old has won her past nine races stretching back to May 2017, but all of those victories have come over further than the mile-and-aquarter she races over this afternoon. Indeed, the last time she raced over today’s trip, Enable was beaten by far inferior opposition to that which she will encounter this afternoon, and her current price of 10/11 makes no appeal, especially as she does not have race fitness on her side.
Of her rivals, Telecaster is on a retrieval mission after finishing last when heavily fancied in the Derby, while Regal Reality has it all to prove stepping up to Group One level for the first time.
The return to a faster surface could result in outsider Zabeel
Prince running a better race than expected at 20/1, but I will be siding with Magical to overturn the likely odds-on favourite at odds of 7/2.
Magical and Enable are familiar foes, with the pair being split by just three-quarters of a length when Enable won the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in November, but the advantage of being fully race fit could mean she turns the tables on one of Flat racing’s star performers and becomes a record-equalling sixth winner of the race for Aidan O’brien.
Elsewhere on the card, Pattie could be overpriced to win the Coral Challenge (2.25) at odds of 33/1. Mick Channon’s inconsistent filly missed the break here two starts ago before making an eye-catching mid-race move, and was far from disgraced when seventh on an all-weather surface at Chelmsford last time.
Veteran Muthmir is also worth chancing in the Coral Charge (1.50). The nine-year-old will need luck on his side and the gaps to open when required, but the signs of his comeback run, when fifth at Epsom on Derby day, suggests he retains much of his ability and he can go one better than when finishing second in the race last year.
Star turn: Frankie Dettori celebrates after winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf on Enable at Churchill Downs last November