Superstar filly Enable makes her long awaited return to competitive action in what will prove to be a massive day for Kempton. She is in the very first race on the card, the September Stakes at 2.05, her CV is impressive having won seven of her 8 races, five of those Group 1s, the last of which the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly. She is a phenomenon and the September Stakes is a means to see her race fit in order to defend her crown, this time at Longchamp. She is currently second favourite for her date in France, while Crystal Ocean an unexpected but welcome opponent today is fourth in the betting for the Arc.
In Enable’s absence it has been two other filly’s that have been grabbing all the headlines, her stable companion Lah Ti Dar more recently and the brilliant Sea Of Class who sits at the top of the Arc market. Remember seven of the last ten Arc winners have been fillies or mares. I digress, back to Kempton. What was meant to be a comfortable reintroduction to racing is now a stern test. Albeit Crystal Ocean has to concede weight to all his rivals and 8 pounds to Enable, a big ask but surely some, if not all of that will be offset by the wonder filly’s 342-day layoff. What a thrill for David Probert to get the call up to ride Crystal Ocean and he’ll be out to prove himself. As far as Enable is concerned it might be a case of deciding whether she is value for the Arc prior to the stalls opening at Kempton, anyway it is great to see her back.
The big race of the day the Sprint Cup is at Haydock, to be run at 4.15. Harry Angel is back to defend his crown having suffered an injury in the stalls when poised to race at Royal Ascot, his recovery has been rapid, a relief to all. Now he will have similar conditions to last year as of Friday it was soft, heavy in places with potentially more rain to come. It was heavy last year when Harry Angel romped home by four lengths from Tasleet and The Tin Man, who are both back hoping to exact revenge. The pair are also two pounds better off at the weights. Sir Dancelot and James Garfield have been supplemented for the race at just over a cost of £15,000. Jockey Gerald Mosse has maintained all season that Sir Dancelot is a Group 1 performer and now he has the chance to prove it. While Frankie Dettori has to fly by helicopter after riding Enable at Kempton the 172 miles to Haydock to ride James Garfield just 2 hours ten minutes later. Harry Angel is class but short and had he had an uninterrupted preparation I would not wish to take him on, but The Tin Man ran so well in Deauville and has the in form Oisin Murphy on board. While Tasleet has had a quiet campaign waiting for the ground to come in his favour. It’s intriguing though how the retained jockey has picked the owner’s Eqtidaar instead. Finally can’t end my thoughts in this race without mentioning Joseph O’Brien-trained Speak In Colours, he beat Gordon Lord Byron last time out and that horse won this in 2013. More significantly three-year-olds have dominated recently winning five on the last 7 runnings.
In Haydock’s 4.50 and with the conditions as they are it might be worth keeping an eye on Mayleaf Shine, she has only won twice in a career of 20 races but 11 of those runs have been on Good ground or better, she needs it hock deep. Add to that she won the race 12 months ago.
Many have tipped trainer David Elsworth to have a big day with Sir Dancelot in the Sprint Cup, Rip Orff at Ascot and Master The World in the 2.25 Haydock. The latter can handle soft ground and is at his most dangerous when a big price. He has had some tough engagements this year, the Superior Mile looks manageable. Let’s not forget Here Comes When won the Group 1 Sussex Stakes in deplorable weather conditions last year and would be the big danger.
Must mention Ascot which holds some great competitive handicaps featuring horses who I felt were unlucky in running on their previous start. Mubtasim at 2.45 hasn’t had a clear run all season and has dropped down a very attractive rating. Tangled aged 2 ran in some really big races and in five runs since returning from Dubai has never found a clear run, like Mubtasim he is handicapped to run well at 4.30. It might not have been spotted last week but Shamshon ran into trouble in a quality sprint at Sandown. Connections have got him out quickly again, with David Probert on board who makes the journey from Kempton having ridden Crystal Ocean.
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