Most sports fans can remember a moment of high emotion, disappointment or despair when they asked themselves a few questions. Is it really worth it? Why do I bother? Could a brief, giddy high at some unknown point in the future ever be worth the miserable depths of the low that I’m feeling right now? If your sport is racing, then a horse such as Enable has the answers.
Enable is not the best racehorse of the past 10 years. That honour falls, beyond any doubt, to Frankel, and will continue to do so, in all likelihood, for decades to come. Enable is not the best horse to carry the pink, green and white colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah. That’s Frankel, too, with Dancing Brave not far behind. This time last year, officially at least, Enable was not even the best horse in John Gosden’s stable. Cracksman and Roaring Lion finished the year with a higher mark in the international ratings.
But that, in a sense, is part of her appeal. Frankel’s dominance in his final season at the track was so complete that he started at 1-20 for one of his five starts and 1-10 for two more. There was astonishment and awe when he went to the track, but very little nervous anticipation.
Not so at longchamp on Sunday afternoon, when Enable will attempt to become the first horse to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe three times. If Enable succeeds, she will retire to the paddocks with a career record of 14 wins from 15 starts, close to Frankel’s perfect 14 from 14. In terms of prize money earnings, however, she has already banked three times as much as Frankel and a third Arc success would take her career total close to £12m.
Why? Because while Frankel never left England, Enable has gone on her travels, rarely returning to the same track twice.