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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

Immortality beckons for Enable, but this could be a Magical weekend for the O'Briens

All eyes are on Longchamp, and a very special mare, on Sunday afternoon.

Frankie Dettori and Enable: history beckons.
Frankie Dettori and Enable: history beckons.
Image: Imago/PA Images

RACING LOVES LITTLE like a proper good mare.

You see on TV now, how media organisations are trying to promote a gender balance, which presumably will become something of the norm. On Sunday at Longchamp, a filly by a stallion who has produced very few top-class horses (one other horse rated above 110) will bid to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the third year running.

She is not exactly fashionable in everything bar performance. The definition of Enable is to “give (someone) the authority or means to do something; make it possible for”. And when it comes to that, little or nothing seems impossible for Enable.

There is gender discrimination when it comes to the daughter of Nathaniel: were she a male she would hardly still be in training. Such is the cold reality of the colt in Flat racing: if you are top notch, you are far more valuable not doing what you are designed to do, namely running at speed.

Enable has little or nothing in the way of negatives at Longchamp on Sunday. She was beaten on her second start but otherwise has never suffered defeat, producing a remarkably consistent level of performance.

If there is one issue that she might have to answer questions regarding, it is her victory in the race last year. On that occasion, Enable beat Sea Of Class by little more than a blade of grass, and with luck in terms of how the race panned out, the runner-up clearly would have won.

As has been pointed out, Enable did not have an ideal 2018: she only reappeared in September, winning on the all-weather, and she raced too fresh at Longchamp, showing abundant class to win in the circumstances.

I take her on purely because of odds. During the week, I put up Liverpool as an in-running lay at 1/25 against Salzburg, getting predictably mocked for doing so. The bet lost, but you do not need many winners when betting at big prices and Magical looks the one.

The Tote is essentially useless in Ireland and Britain nowadays, seemingly beyond the chance of redemption, but it will be interesting to see how the prices shape up on Sunday, with the pools having a monopoly in France. Thirteen years ago, Japan’s superstar Deep Impact, recently deceased, was sent off at 1/2 favourite for the Arc on the PMU, with the winner Rail Link going off an absurd price as a consequence, the Japanese punters on course having more money than intelligence.

It is hard not to see Enable being piled on because of sentimental interest. And it is intriguing that Aidan O’Brien was in bullish form after Magical landed a gamble in the Irish Champion Stakes.

The race was pretty much run to suit her but it was a decent field and she beat them easily. She has never beaten Enable, yet she got really close to her on a couple of occasions, and she is a far bigger price.

The odds discrepancy between her and stablemate Japan looks highly questionable. I doubt either Aidan O’Brien or rider Ryan Moore reckons there is a great deal between them, yet the bookmakers have acted like sheep in assuming there is.

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Betway offers 12/1 Magical and I really like that bet each-way. There is nearly certain to be a strong gallop in the Arc and when she ran a really nice race in this 12 months ago, she was unproven at the distance and was ridden accordingly.

Now, she can be ridden as Donnacha O’Brien likes. Chasing the Irish champion jockey title, Donnacha has done wonders to continue riding in defiance of his natural weight, and one imagines he will be more than a little emotional if Magical were to win the Arc on Sunday.

She probably will not beat Enable, just like Liverpool probably would not fail to beat Salzburg, but it is all about weighing up probability and at 12/1 or on the PMU with Betway, she can be a very confident each-way play in an Arc that is not exactly loaded with the depth it might have had in previous years.

In her last nine starts, she has never been worse than second, and it is clear that Aidan O’Brien has been training her with one primary aim: beating Enable in the Arc this Sunday. Take the hint.

We have some cracking racing in Ireland this weekend, with the jumps action returning in essence at Gowran, and Tipperary stages its Super Sunday card.

Dallas Des Pictons looks a lovely recruit to chasing at Gowran and can take the finale (5.35).

Have a Magical weekend.

Murray Kinsella joins Sean Farrell and Gavan Casey from Japan to give his blunt assessment of Ireland’s performance against Russia

About the author:

Johnny Ward

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