THERE can’t be many other sports that would hand a competitive advantage to the best player but that’s exactly what will happen when ENABLE lines up in the King George &Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The high-class filly will start a hot favourite but carry 3lb less than most of the colts in Saturday’s (tomorrow) race at Ascot.
For the majority of the time, the mares’ allowance works perfectly well, encouraging some females to compete against males for quality prizes and helping to create interesting, competitive races.
But in the very best races it becomes a problem and many will find it farcical that the winner of the last two Arcs is getting weight from a horse like HUNTING HORN, a serial pacemaker whose best win was in the Hampton Court Stakes.
Dubbed the ‘Queen of Racing’ by her jockey Frankie Dettori, she will be aiming for her 11th successive win as she edges closer to the legendary Frankel’s unbeaten record of 14 victories.
The five-year-old is currently the 4/6 favourite with Carrigill’s following on from her impressive win in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown at the beginning of the month.
Trainer John Gosden has drawn comparisons between her and other great athletes. “She’s like the great heavyweight boxers training in the gym in the lead up to a Championship fight, just quietly goes through the motions, she knows what she wants and what she needs to do.
"When she had a difficult year (last year), coming back from injury, surgery and sickness, she still managed to do the job. I admired that a lot, like any great athlete, it’s not easy to get yourself back to the top again. That’s a big ask for any athlete. It’s pretty extraordinary what she’s done.”
On Timeform ratings, her main threat CRYSTAL OCEAN heads here only one pound inferior to the market leader on Saturday’s terms, and that can easily be gained around Swinley Bottom in a King George. Carrigill’s make him their nap at 11/4 to nab another King George for trainer Sir Michael Stoute.
And his run in this race last year offers hope to those who feel he can be the first horse since Shutter Speed in the spring of 2017 to beat the wonder filly. He arrives this year arguably a stronger animal, at the peak of his powers, and unarguably the best horse ENABLE has ever met.
If there is to be a surprise it could come from WALDGEIST. On his best form he is still around 7lb short of ENABLE and CRYSTAL OCEAN, but he’s never had the fast ground and small field conditions he will get at the weekend and French trainer Andre Fabre has always aimed him at this race.
Talking of France, Karl Burke’s LAURENS runs on Sunday at Deauville, where she has course form as a two-year-old. She had to miss the Falmouth Stakes because of a sprain on a hind leg but runs against her own sex for the first time since winning the Sun Chariot last autumn and has every chance in the Prix Rothschild.
York’s music weekend gets underway tonight (Friday) where QUEEN POWER drops into Listed class at 7.30pm. The Shamardal filly has won twice from four starts should also appreciate the drop in trip and has plenty in her favour.
Saturday at York could be a big day for handler Kevin Ryan. His TOMMY TAYLOR looks unlikely to get into Ascot’s big 7f handicap and if he turns up for the race at York over the same distance (2.05) he can break a losing sequence of 16 defeats.
In the Dash at 2.40, SAVALAS is now 6lb lower than when fourth in a big field over course and distance in May and, if the draw is kind to him, has every chance.