The list of Galileo-sired stallions who have at least one Group 1 winner to their name somewhere in the world got a new addition recently when Enable powered through heavy rain to win the Investec Oaks at Epsom, beating Rhododendron by five lengths.
The Juddmonte Farms homebred represents the first crop of the top-class middle-distance horse Nathaniel (by Galileo), one of two stallions resident at Newsells Park Stud. The other is sprint star and Group 1 sire Equiano (by Acclamation).
Nathaniel had some two-year-old winners in 2016, as you would expect, and given his racing and pedigree profile it was always likely that we would start to see the best of his offspring emerge once they started racing at 10 furlongs and beyond.
That is not to say that he will not get some high-class juveniles – and there is every reason to hope that he will get some stakes and pattern winners among that age group – but this is not a stallion who was going to make the sort of flashy early beginning that the commercial market seems to love.
Instead, Nathaniel's prospects have always been as a potential classic and middle-distance sire. Enable is his first pattern winner, she was joined in the Oaks line-up by fellow listed scorer Natavia – who was unplaced – and the stallion's five other blacktype earners include Group 2 Derby Italiano runner-up Back On Board and two pattern-placed colts who could tackle the Group 1 Deutsches Derby.
That quintet also includes stakes-placed Glencadam Glory who was beaten by just under eight lengths when out of the frame behind Wings Of Eagles in the Group 1 Investec Derby. He is, like Enable, trained by John Gosden, and he holds an entry in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot.
Enable ran just once as a juvenile, taking a mile maiden on the Tapeta surface at Newcastle in late November by three and three-quarter lengths. Therefore she joins the growing list of Group 1 stars who got an early winning start on the artificial tracks, a roll of honour that also includes Covert Love (Irish Oaks), Hawkbill (Eclipse Stakes), Jack Hobbs (Irish Derby), Silverwave (Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud), and Zelzal (Prix Jean Prat).
Her second start was in a 10-furlong conditions race at Newbury in April, where she finished two and a half lengths and a head behind Shutter Speed and Raheen House, with the rest well-beaten.
Just 19 days later she was eased down to beat Alluringly by one and three-quarter lengths in the Listed Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks over the extended 11 furlongs at Chester. The third that day, Tansholpan, finished another nine lengths behind.
Although a comparison of the margin between Enable and Alluringly that day versus the 11 lengths that separated them at Epsom may flatter the newly crowned classic star, there is no doubt that she improved again between those two races. Her Chester rival finished third in the Oaks, three and three-quarter lengths clear of fourth-placed Horseplay.
Enable is the fifth foal out of the listed race winner and Group 3 Prix de Flore runner-up Concentric (by Sadler's Wells) and so the first thing about her pedigree that jumps off the page is that she is inbred 3x2 to Coolmore Stud's late, great, white-faced bay. Whether or not that has had any bearing on her ability cannot be known.
Concentric's offspring also include the Group 2 Prix de Pomone third Contribution (by Champs Elysees), she is out of the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont scorer Apogee (by Shirley Heights) and so has three siblings of particular note.
Dance Routine, her full-sister, won the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu and was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) before going on to become the dam of five-time Group/Grade 1 star Flintshire (by Dansili). A dual Arc-placed Group 1 winner before heading to stardom across the atlantic, he is completing his first season on the stallion roster at Hill 'N Dale Farms in Kentucky.
His full-brother Dance Moves has been a dual stakes winner in France and third in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay, and his half-sister Deliberate (by King's Best) is the winning dam of the pattern-placed pair Projected (by Showcasing) and Delivery (by Rail Link).
Apogee's other two stakes winners are Apsis (by Barathea) and Space Quest (by Rainbow Quest). The former won the Group 3 Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord and Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon, and his progeny include the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak scorer Les Beaufs.
Space Quest won the Listed Prix Joubert, her son Kocab (by Unfuwain) won five listed races and took second place in the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris, and her grandson Virtual Game (by Kheleyf) has won several listed contests in Italy.
Light Ballet, another full-sister to Concentric, did not win a stakes race, but earned her blacktype when third in the Group 3 Prix Minerve and she has done her part for the family's reputation by producing listed scorer Penchee (by Grand Lodge) and two stakes-placed sons.
Bourbon Girl (by Ile De Bourbon), who Juddmonte also bred, chased home Unite in both the Group 1 Oaks and Group 1 Irish Oaks in 1987, and Apogee is one of three daughters of particular note for her.
Daring Miss (by Sadler's Wells), who could be described as being a three-parts sister to Concentric and Dance Route, won the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly three weeks before chasing home Montjeu in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. The best of her progeny is the stakes-winning gelding Destruct (by Rail Link).
The other sister is Shining Bright (by Rainbow Quest) who made her name solely at stud, coming up with two of El Prado's (by Sadler's Wells) star performers in Europe. Spanish Moon won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and his sister Spanish Sun, who is the dam of Listed Pretty Polly Stakes scorer Swiss Range (by Zamindar), took the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes.
A Nathaniel filly from this famous family was always going to stay a mile and a half and, if proving smart, become a likely candidate for the Oaks and Irish Oaks. She has won the former and is likely to tackle the latter.
Her Oaks victory, during a thunderstorm, was achieved in the fastest time ever for a winner of that classic at Epsom, which suggests that she may be an above-average classic heroine. Her apparent superiority over Rhododendron may be slightly exaggerated given that the latter's stamina appeared to falter, and it could be a case that, like in 1992 when User Friendly beat All At Sea, with the rest nowhere, that the runner-up will drop back in trip and excel there instead.
Enable could certainly emulate User Friendly by adding the Group 1 Irish Oaks and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks, and my immediate post-race impression was that we had just seen the likely Group 1 St Leger winner in action. It was a pity, therefore, to hear her trainer all but rule out a tilt at the final classic of the year.
She is among the ante-post favourites for the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe so it is possible that she might go there instead of to Doncaster. But whatever her year planner contains, there is no doubt that she is a high-calibre filly, one who could achieve anything on the track and, eventually, at stud, and she is a wonderful advertisement for her young sire.