It wasn’t just the fact that Enable won the Investec Oaks that was so thrilling for her connections. It was the style of her victory and the courage she showed in repelling the challenge of the odds-on Rhododendron, both of which encouraged the belief that she has a major role to play in the year’s top mile-and-a-half events. Julian Muscat in the Racing Post said that you will have to travel a long way to see a more majestic sight than Enable in full flight.
In the process Enable helped Prince Khalid Abdullah and his Juddmonte team reach some highly significant milestones. In addition to becoming the 25th Classic winner bred by Juddmonte, she also notched up the 200th Group 1 win by a Juddmonte-bred horse. On a personal level, I too was delighted, as Enable had added the one British Classic missing from the set during my 20-plus years working as a consultant to Juddmonte.
Appropriately, the imposing daughter of the resurgent Nathaniel – who followed up her Epsom triumph with a brilliant performance in the Darley Irish Oaks – has a pedigree which illustrates how long Juddmonte has been operating at the highest levels of the sport. Her first three dams, Concentric, Apogee and Bourbon Girl, are all Juddmonte-breds and her next dam, the Habitat mare Fleet Girl, was part of the package when Prince Khalid purchased Dr Schnapka’s Ferrans Stud in 1982. Fleet Girl had won easily over nine furlongs and a mile and a half on consecutive days at Tramore.
The imposing daughter of the resurgent Nathaniel has a pedigree which illustrates how long Juddmonte has been operating at the highest levels of the sport
Ferrans, of course, continues to play a tremendously important role in the Juddmonte organisation, as it is there that the yearlings are raised and go through their pre-training.
Bourbon Girl’s history also provides another reminder of how the Juddmonte empire developed. This daughter of the King George winner Ile de Bourbon was conceived in 1983 at Banstead Manor Stud, roughly four years before the Cheveley-based stud was purchased from the Morriss family to become Juddmonte’s headquarters.
Of the families purchased from Dr Schnapka, the one descending from Fleet Girl is the only one still in the Juddmonte Stud book, and it owes its existence entirely to Bourbon Girl. Trained by Barry Hills, the filly inherited the size and rather sparely-made appearance often found in Ile de Bourbon’s progeny, but that didn’t stop her winning on her only appearance at two, over seven furlongs at Ascot. A powerful galloper, she had the unfortunate record of finishing second to Indian Skimmer in the Musidora Stakes and to Unite in both the Oaks and Irish Oaks on her first three starts the following season. She later finished third in the Yorkshire Oaks, so it isn’t too surprising that one of her descendants has become an Oaks winner.
Unfortunately, Bourbon Girl died after foaling at the age of 13 in 1997, but not before she had produced three daughters to carry on the good work. The first of them, the Rainbow Quest mare Shining Bright, won in good enough style at Longchamp to earn a tilt at the 1992 Oaks, in which she finished fifth.
Apogee, the second daughter of Bourbon Girl, was also well above average. This daughter of Shirley Heights won the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont over a mile and a half on her second start, and Daring Miss, the last of Bourbon Girl’s daughters, also became a Group winner. This daughter of Sadler’s Wells won the Grand Prix de Chantilly before taking second place behind Montjeu in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
All three daughters have helped build Bourbon Girl’s legacy, to the extent that there are now 16 stakes winners descending from the 1987 Oaks second. Eight have scored at Group level. Although Daring Miss was the best of Bourbon Girl’s daughters, she proved the least effective as a broodmare, her best efforts being the Listed winner Destruct and the Musidora Stakes second Quickfire, who is represented in the Juddmonte stud book by the sprinter-miler Ultrasonic (Timeform 111).
Shining Bright spent most of her broodmare career at Juddmonte’s Kentucky branch, where she proved an ideal mate for Sadler’s Wells’ son El Prado, producing three winners from three foals. The first, Spanish Sun, was good enough to win the Ribblesdale Stakes and her brother Spanish Moon was even more effective, once he overcame his aversion to the starting stalls, as he showed with his determined victory in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
This branch of the family still maintains a toe-hold at Juddmonte, as Spanish Sun’s Zamindar filly Swiss Range earned a Timeform rating of 113 in 2016.
As you may have gathered by now, the Bourbon Girl family owes much of its success to the Sadler’s Wells male line (Enable herself is by Sadler’s Wells’s grandson Nathaniel). Apogee also visited this brilliant stallion to produce the Group 2 winner Dance Routine, who was also second in the Group 1 Prix de Diane, and Dance Routine’s younger sister Concentric, the Group-placed Listed winner who has now found fame as the dam of Enable. Apogee also did well with Sadler’s Wells’ son Barathea, producing the Group 3-winning miler Apsis.
This ongoing success with the Sadler’s Wells male line helps explain the 3 x 2 inbreeding to the 14-time champion sire found in Enable’s pedigree. Prince Khalid also enjoyed plenty of success in the past with horses inbred 2 x 3 to Sadler’s Wells’ sire Northern Dancer, with the first leg coming via Sadler’s Wells’s close relative Nureyev. Nureyev’s son Skimming earned nearly $2.3 million, thanks largely to two wins in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. Another example was Nureyev’s daughter Viviana, a Listed winner who produced the multiple Grade 1 winners Sightseek and Tates Creek.
The other ongoing theme with Enable’s family is the success it has enjoyed with Hasili’s sons, led by Dansili. Dansili’s matings with Dance Routine resulted in two colts who were well above average. Dance Moves was both very useful and versatile, without being in the same class as his younger brother Flintshire, who became the biggest-earning Juddmonte-bred during his four-year career. Flintshire, whose record featured five Group/Grade 1 victories and two seconds in the Arc, is now based at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, an establishment with an enviable reputation for making stallions.
Enable’s dam Concentric visited Dansili’s brother Champs Elysees to produce Contribution, who was beaten less than a length when third in the Group 3 Prix Allez France in 2016. She is now in foal to Lope De Vega. Concentric herself has a two-year-old colt and a yearling filly by Dansili, which are closely related to Flintshire. Concentric foaled a Frankel filly in March and is now in foal to Sea The Stars.
Although Concentric’s sister Dance Routine died at the age of 15, both her daughters, Deliberate and Across The Floor, have been retained. Deliberate’s first two foals are the Group-placed winners Delivery and Projected, and she has a two-year-old Dansili filly called Relent with John Gosden. The once-raced Across The Floor is in foal to Dansili, sire also of her attractive colt foal. Delivery, runner-up in the Group 3 Prix Chloe, has also been retained and her first two foals, a yearling colt by Oasis Dream and a filly foal by Kingman, represent six generations of Juddmonte breeding
The chances are that Enable isn’t going to be the last high-class winner from this excellent family.