Enable beats Crystal Ocean in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes at Ascot. Pic Steve Davies/Racingfotos.com
John Gosden has already saddled the winners of seven races that fall under the QIPCO British Champions Series umbrella this year and will be a very short price to add to that tally at York next week.
Enable and Stradivarius are set to lead a strong team for the champion trainer. The former is on course for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on the Thursday of the four-day Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, with Stradivarius once more in line for the £1million Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ bonus if he can win the Lonsdale Cup on the Friday.
Connections of Enable have opted for the Yorkshire Oaks – which she won in 2017 – over the Juddmonte International as the five-year-old prepares for her attempt at an unprecedented third consecutive triumph in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The Khalid Abdullah-owned mare has already won the Coral-Eclipse and King George VI And Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes this season.
Gosden said: “We are pointing at the Yorkshire Oaks – we were keen to stay at a mile and a half, rather than coming back in trip again – and obviously trying to use it as a springboard to the Arc.
“She has had a nice easy time since the King George. She just did a breeze on her own with Frankie (Dettori) on her on Saturday – into a strong headwind, so they just did a nice quiet bit.
“She’ll pick up again in her work this week, but she is out there enjoying herself, looking well and moving nicely.
“She’s a lovely filly, obviously, and she has done extremely well this year. She really enjoys her training and her racing, which obviously makes the trainer’s job a lot easier.
“Everyone is interested in her when she is out on the (Newmarket) Heath. So we are very lucky to have a filly like that in the stables.
“Obviously it comes with plenty of responsibility, but all being well we’ll be there next Thursday with her. She has been to York before. The crowd were thrilled to see her last time she was there when she came after the King George.”
La Ti Dar could be in opposition to Enable, with Gosden adding: “Lah Ti Dar may well be in the Oaks as well.
“The owner-breeders are very keen to run her – they’ve been wanting to run her in the race all year, so I’m sure that’s where she’ll probably be going. She is training nicely.”
Like last year, Stradivarius will arrive on the Knavesmire on the back of victories in the Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup.
He has won a record-equalling nine Champions Series races, the same that Frankel managed in 2011 and 2012.
Gosden said: “He is as cheeky as ever! He is full of himself, a very happy horse. He is training up nicely for the race. Obviously, the Goodwood Cup was not that long ago, so we come into the Lonsdale just trying to keep the freshness in him.
“He probably had tougher races coming through last year – the Gold Cup last year was a formidable race, whereas they probably didn’t go as hard this year. Therefore, for him, it didn’t drain him so much.”
Gosden will be represented in the Juddmonte International on the opening afternoon through King Of Comedy, who has not run since his fast-finishing second in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
It will be a first try at 10 furlongs for the Kingman colt, but Gosden said: “We feel that is his trip. Since Royal Ascot this has been the plan.”