British Flat Stars Battaash, Enable, and Stradivarius Light Up Ebor Festival

Racing
Enable is in elite form as she targets a third-straight win in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The Ebor Festival at York Racecourse in the North of England continues to provide popular winners of top races. Three established Thoroughbred stars of the British and Irish Flat scene continued their glittering careers at the racetrack on the Knavesmire outside the historic city.

Breeders’ Cup Heroine Enable Warms up for Arc Hat-Trick Bid in Yorkshire Oaks

Enable made it 10 Group/Grade 1 victories with a comfortable second victory in the Yorkshire Oaks on Aug. 22. Most of the opposition was scared off, with just three fillies entered against Khalid Abdullah’s 5-year-old who won the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf on her final start of last season.

Magical, the Aidan O’Brien trained daughter of super sire Galileo who chased Enable home at Churchill Downs, filled the same spot for the third time in her career in the Yorkshire Oaks. The powerful Coolmore set had supplemented her for a crack at Enable, but John Gosden’s magnificent mare confirmed Breeders’ Cup and Sandown Eclipse form.

It was in many ways the ideal prep for going back across the English Channel to Paris and Longchamp for France’s most famous horse race, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Enable has won Europe’s richest Thoroughbred contest in each of the last two years, matching the likes of modern greats Treve and Alleged.

Bookmakers 888Sport have Enable a standout even-money favourite in their horse racing betting on the Arc, but no horse in almost a century of the race’s history has finished first three times. Enable sets a clear standard yet will face dangers, including fellow Ebor Festival winner Japan, and she’ll have to give weight-for-age away to any 3-year-olds in the lineup.

Champion Stayer Stradivarius Scoops Seven-Figure Bonus Again with Lonsdale Cup win

Another star on show in a small field and hailing from the Newmarket stables of Gosden at York was Stradivarius. He’s the gold standard for all “cup horses” in the British Isles, and on Aug. 23 retained his Lonsdale Cup crown on the Knavesmire in typically cozy fashion.

Stradivarius is a 5-year-old and has competition running scared like Enable, but he races in stayer events. Not content with consecutive Yorkshire Cups, back-to-back Ascot Gold Cups and three Goodwood Cups, he landed a second Weatherbys Hamilton Million Bonus for owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen.

Carrying a three-pound penalty against just three opponents, Stradivarius just needed keeping up to his work by jockey Frankie Dettori to land the Lonsdale Cup again. He went on from the Ebor Festival to British Champions Day last year and is odds-on at 4-to-6 for another Long Distance Cup at Ascot in October.

Battaash Breaks Course Record in Nunthorpe Rout

In scorching summer weather, Battaash made it third time lucky in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes on Aug. 23 over the flying five furlongs. Charlie Hills’ sprint star finally won at the highest level in England after previously flopping when finishing fourth in this race in two previous attempts.

Battaash often boiled over in the preliminaries in the past, but was relatively calm and then blazed up the Knavesmire turf in track record time. His owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, had previously won the Nunthorpe with Dayjur back in 1990.

That horse went on the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, but jumped dark shadows cast over the track approaching the winning post at Belmont Park and it cost him the race. This infamous incident is part of horse racing lore.

With Godolphin’s great sprinter and Royal Ascot double hero Blue Point now retired to stud, Battaash — who is a gelding — is sure to have more runs throughout the year. Perhaps his owner will seek compensation at the Breeders’ Cup some 29 years on at Santa Anita.

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