Haydock stages the course’s only Group 1 Flat race on Saturday but the September Stakes at Kempton could be a more significant race even though it is only a Group 3 contest. Harry Angel is the favourite to win the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock but the centre of attention will be Enable who returns to the track at Kempton after an eleven month absence. The objective for the season is to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which was the horse’s previous race last October.
Enable won the Arc in 2017 in the third year the biggest Flat race in Europe took place at Chantilly because its usual home, Longchamp, was being developed. Thousands of race goers from Britain and Ireland go to the Arc and they saw a British-trained winner last year when Enable, trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, won the race with something in hand. However, the three-year-old filly received weight and sex allowances and was unbeatable receiving weight.
The September Stakes at Kempton was identified some time ago as Enable’s comeback race. The horse did nothing wrong last season but she received up to 14 pounds from older male horses in some races. The sex and age concessions have passed the test of time but fillies aged three are taking advantage and exploiting the edge gained from receiving so much weight. Crystal Ocean has also been entered in the Kempton race and will carry eight pounds more than Enable.
Crystal Ocean was second in the King George to Poet’s Word but that horse was beaten by Roaring Lion at York. The winner of the Juddmonte International represented the Classic generation. The three-year-old finished third in the Derby behind Masar who has not been seen since winning at Epsom. If Enable is to win the Arc as a four-year-old she must beat Crystal Ocean receiving eight pounds. The filly won’t receive the age related allowance at Longchamp this time.
However, connections of Enable would probably swap 10 September Stakes for another Arc. The owners’ representative summed up the importance of the comeback race in the context of the horse’s career. He was quoted in the Racing Post this week saying:
“The most important thing about this race (Kempton on Saturday) is to get her back on the track really. The key is the first weekend in October (the Arc). She will need to run very well whatever the result. But the most important thing is she gets a good race, gets a good experience and comes out of it well.
Enable would give Crystal Ocean a race off level weights but can get her career back on track by beating the colt with the weight concession of eight pounds. All roads then lead to Longchamp and a second Arc but in a tougher race not having the age allowance could be crucial and other runners are preferred. Roaring Lion looks a big price and as a horse aged three receives weight from the older horses.
Harry Angel is another horse trying to win a Group 1 Flat race for the second year in succession. Frankie Dettori will be travelling by air from Kempton after riding Enable to partner James Garfield in the Sprint Cup at Haydock. However, it could be a wasted journey because Harry Angel has something in hand on form and ratings. The horse can go back-to-back in a highest level Flat race but that looks beyond Enable in the Arc even though the filly can win the September Stakes on Saturday. Dettori is more likely to do a flying dismount at Kempton than Haydock because he can win on Enable but James Garfield will struggle to beat Harry Angel.