Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s prolific year continued as Nazeef landed the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes, the owner’s seventh prize at the highest level for the year, at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Invincible Spirit filly, under Jim Crowley, came home clear of Godolphin’s Half Light and Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s Cloak Of Spirit by a length and-a-half and neck respectively.
Nazeef’s second Group 1 prize now sets up the platform for trainer John Gosden to saddle Khalid Abdullah’s Enable in its attempt to become the first horse ever to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe three times.
“She's a tough filly and was in handicaps last year,” Gosden said. “She won a handicap at Chelmsford in great style and we decided then with the permission of Sheikh Hamdan to keep her in training to try to win a Listed race. She did that immediately in the Snowdrop, before going on to the Duke of Cambridge, then the Falmouth.
“You never expect that you’re going to go from Chelmsford handicaps to knocking off two Group 1s at Newmarket do you?”
Gosden’s super mare Enable’s Arc attempt was thwarted in a heartbreaking defeat to Waldgeist 12 months ago but she returns to line up in the 15-runner field on Sunday in what may likely be her swansong at Parislongchamp.
Enable, the six-year-old daughter of Nathaniel, has won 15 races, including 11 Group 1s, and she has never been out of the first three in her 18 career starts.
Frankie Dettori, who has been in the saddle on 16 of those starts, believes only a win in the mile-and-a-half feature will cement Enable's place among the very best to have graced the annals of the Turf.
“She is by far the best horse in terms of CVs that I’ve ridden,” the veteran Italian jockey, was quoted as saying on attheraces.com.
“When you think of the likes of Fantastic Light and Daylami, I only won five Group One races on them and she has won 11. She has nearly doubled the Group One tally of any other horse I’ve ridden.
“For me, if I can win the third Arc, it is all for her. I will work hard to try to achieve that for her, as I want her to be remembered as one of the all-time greats. She can only be called that if she wins a third Arc.”
Persian King carries Godolphin’s hopes in the race while Raabihah runs in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid in the 15-runner field.
Persian King, trained by Andre Fabre, comes in to the race in fine fettle, having won three of his five races this year, including two Group 1s. But he has not raced beyond nine furlongs.
Gosden also runs Stradivarius while Aidan O’Brien has four entered with Ryan Moore riding Mogul, winner of the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris over the track and trip in his last start on September 3.
With six Group 1 prizes on offer at the meeting, Godolphin will be hoping to strike with another Fabre-trained Earthlight in the Prix de la Foret.
The Shamardal is on the back of seventh win in eight starts when taking the Group 3 Prix du Pin over the course and distance on 13 September.