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Winx v Enable?

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djebel View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 Oct 2017 at 8:51pm
COMMENT LEE MOTTERSHEAD

If the wonder women met it would be the match of our days

If both sides can be persuaded to sign up in principle to meet, the sport should move heaven and earth to make it happen

On the Saturday just gone in 1973 BBC Grandstand managed to include five races from Haydock within the space of 90 minutes. This was made possible by the second contest being followed only 15 minutes later by the third. It was one of those rarities in racing, a pre-arranged match. There is now good reason for considering another.

On a day when BBC1 viewers also got to enjoy Bruce Forsyth hosting The Generation Game and It's Lulu, which in that particular episode helpfully featured Lulu, Haydock's Brooke Bond Tea Cup Ladies' Stakes (the final ladies' race of the season) and the Crown Decorators' Apprentice Championship Handicap were followed at 1.55pm by "A Match" over a mile and 40 yards.

Explaining what was set to take place, the Radio Times promised: "A brotherly duel between horses from the stables of two of racing's leading trainers. Ian Balding, trainer of Derby winner Mill Reef, saddles Morris Dancer, winner of over £30,000 in stakes. Toby Balding, trainer of Grand National winner Highland Wedding, saddles Scaramander."

Morris Dancer and Scaramander were fine horses, but their showdown almost certainly failed to draw a huge amount of interest, certainly not as much as some of racing's past great matches, including those between The Flying Dutchman and Voltigeur, Seabiscuit and War Admiral or Dawn Run and Buck House.

Perhaps, just perhaps, there could be a new head-to-head that would be spoken about in the same terms as those celebrated scraps.

The northern hemisphere has Enable. The southern hemisphere has Winx.

How wonderful it would be if those two brilliant females clashed in a battle of the hemispheres' heroines at some point in 2018. It is far from an impossible aspiration, but for the horses to meet, the humans behind them, helped by a few others, need to facilitate it.

One prerequisite is Enable, so magnificent all season, never more so than in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, must be kept in training at four. She should be and she surely will be.

John Gosden has spoken regularly about the extent to which thoroughbreds improve as they get older. He could not have been plainer that he would love to see Enable race next year, as would we all. Moreover, as Julian Muscat so eloquently made clear in his latest Wednesday column, it would be hard to defend, and even harder to applaud, the premature retirement of a racehorse who still has so much to give.

Let Winx be the example to Enable.

On Saturday, when crushing the opposition in Flemington's Turnbull Stakes, she extended her unbeaten spree to 21 races. In total, she has now won 25 of her 31 starts. The 32nd start will, all things being well, come on October 28 when a mare regularly saluted on this page seeks to become only the second horse after Kingston Town to win three Cox Plates.

After that, her ambitions will, according to recent indications, be expanded to Europe, with Chris Waller having already gone public on a possible plan for a three-stop tour next year. To see her in this part of the world would be something incredibly special, as it was when Black Caviar came to Royal Ascot, the festival that is bound to be a pivot point in Winx's international adventure.

Waller is keen to showcase his champion's adaptability over a range of distances. Given her very biggest triumphs have come over 1m2f, it is likely she would compete over that trip in Europe, but it is also likely her most obvious Ascot assignment would be in the Queen Anne Stakes, staged over a stiff mile that would play perfectly to her strengths.

All Enable's Group 1 victories have come over 1m4f, although that is not to say the royal meeting's 1m2f Prince of Wales's Stakes might not be a target and therefore also the stage for an encounter with Winx.

If they failed to share the same starting stalls for that race, Sandown could conceivably tempt them to come together in the Coral-Eclipse just a few weeks later. York's Juddmonte International ought to be considered a candidate as well, similarly Leopardstown's Irish Champion Stakes, although those prizes could come too late if the Winx camp are keen to return home for one last Australian spring.

There are, though, only a handful of races in which it is easy to envisage a face-off between Enable and Winx taking place. Any racecourse that believes it possesses such a race should start wooing both sets of connections from the second Winx's latest Australian campaign is closed.

Racecourses, and indeed racing, should also contemplate the alternative option of a match.

Assessed on talent and tactics, no two horses could be more obvious match material.

Winx has twice hit a Racing Post Rating of 130. Enable moved her personal best to 129 when storming home in the Arc. Both have the potential to raise their figures higher still. Enable thrives when racing prominently and happily made all in the Yorkshire Oaks. Winx attacks from behind and to devastating effect.

The fairest trip would be 1m2f or 1m3f. These would be shorter than Enable would ideally like, but while Winx won the Queensland Oaks over 1m3f, she also recorded a RPR of 130 over just 7½f in the George Ryder Stakes this year.

For now, this is nothing more than dream talk, yet remember that in 2000 we seemed set to get a match between Dubai Millennium and Montjeu only for the former to suffer a career-ending injury.

That would have been big. This would be bigger.

If both sides can be persuaded to sign up to meet in principle, the sport should move heaven and earth to make it happen. If it does happen, whether in an open contest or match, many would move heaven and earth to watch the two wonder women race.




STRIKE WHILST THE IRON IS HOT

reductio ad absurdum

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

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djebel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Oct 2017 at 9:30pm


STRIKE WHILST THE IRON IS HOT

reductio ad absurdum

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

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Tlazolteotl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tlazolteotl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Oct 2017 at 9:23am
"Waller is keen to showcase his champion's adaptability over a range of distances."

News to me- where did he say that?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tlazolteotl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Oct 2017 at 9:27am
Originally posted by Tlazolteotl Tlazolteotl wrote:

"Waller is keen to showcase his champion's adaptability over a range of distances."

News to me- where did he say that?


Winx is already astonishingly versatile by Enable standards.Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Oct 2017 at 11:12am
When they had the press conference to say they were going to Melbourne he mentioned it.


STRIKE WHILST THE IRON IS HOT

reductio ad absurdum

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

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