Frankel v Enable

Enable after winning the Breeders' Cup Turf

Mozart or Beethoven? Einstein or Newton? Laurel or Hardy? Ranking the achievements of out-and-out leaders in their field is never easy – and Enable and Frankel led just about every field they were in.

One of them may well be the greatest filly of modern times and the other could just be the greatest horse of all time. But how do you judge which of the pair achieved the more?

The bare statistics are mightily impressive. Frankel won 14 times from 14 appearances, all bar four of which were in top-level Group 1 company.

But Enable is just one behind with 13 wins and has already matched Frankel’s ten victories in the highest grade.

And don’t let the fact that she has suffered a couple of defeats be held against her. Nobody is perfect and an unbeaten record is far from a prerequisite for super-stardom – the fact that Usain Bolt finished second occasionally does not mean he is not the greatest sprinter of all time.

Enable certainly scores on the grounds of longevity and durability, coming back year after year and showing she is just as brilliant as she was when we last saw her.

Winning the Oaks and Irish Oaks at three and completing a Group 1 five-timer in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was pretty special.

So was bouncing back from injury to win a second Arc at four and following up at the Breeders’ Cup. And last year’s battling defeat of Crystal Ocean in a King George for the ages called on more reserves of grit and determination than Frankel ever needed to show.

Which may just be the clue to the thing that actually separates them. Enable’s performances leave you marvelling at how good she is – Frankel left you in wonder at how any horse could be that good.

None will ever forget where they were when they saw him run away with the 2,000 Guineas, setting off much too quickly yet never looking in any danger and laughing at his rivals.

And he did it time and again, making the impossible look almost routine. Who ever thought a Queen Anne Stakes could be won by 11 lengths?

His every appearance became an event. Never before or since has a Juddmonte International contender so swollen the crowd at York – where many a racegoer ignored the running of the Great Voltigeur Stakes in order to get a glimpse of the modern phenomenon in the pre-parade ring.

It may be his outstanding form that leads handicappers to tell you he was the greatest of all time but it is the way that Frankel thrilled all who saw him – and who will pass on stories of his legend to their grandchildren – that ensure his achievements will live the longest.

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