What Could Have Been: Races That Never Happened

1. Enable vs Winx

Enable vs Winx was the one clash out of this list of five that could have actually happened, but connections of the Australian superstar opted against a trip to Europe and a possible tussle with Enable.

John Gosden's wonder-filly will begin her route towards a third Arc at Longchamp next week at Sandown in the Coral Eclipse, having won the continent's most prestigious race in France the past two years.

She has only lost once in eleven appearances which was on her second ever start, in a career which has also seen her reign supreme in the Oaks at Epsom, the King George at Ascot and the Breeders Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.

Talking of records, Winx - trained by Chris Waller, retired after her third Queen Elizabeth Stakes success at Randwick, and her thirty-third victory in a row.

Yes - thirty third victory consecutively, including four Cox Plate's, but her owners abandoned any plans of heading anywhere outside Australia with the horse's safety and welfare of paramount importance.

However, whilst the racing globe unanimously profiled Winx as one of the greatest Australian mares ever, it will always be a mystery on how she would have related to other horses in the same division worldwide.

She was beating next-to-nothing horses down under, and nowhere near the quality of the likes of Enable.

The few British guns that she did face such as Benbatl were absolutely spanked as expected, but certainly did not represent the best of the British bunch.

Australian's may have got a little carried away, and although winning thirty-three races in a row is some feat, it is hard to conclude whether she actually is one of the greatest of all time across the world.

Enable vs Winx was always tipped up as the battle to define the world's best horse over ten furlongs - or filly/mare in this case, which would have involved Winx stepping up from her preferred distance of a mile, and Enable coming down from one-mile-and-a-half.

If they clashed?


2. Altior vs Sprinter Sacre

Turning to the National Hunt division, Nicky Henderson has been ever-so fortunate enough to train two world-class chasers in Altior and Sprinter Sacre.

As the man from Seven Burrows continuously states, he could have not been luckier that as one horse retired, another came in and took his place with undoubted perfection.

Altior - simply magnificent and majestic at times over his fences, currently remains racing and unbeaten in all nineteen starts over obstacles.

Twice successful in the Champion Chase and a four-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival in all, the time has come for the nine-year-old to step-up in trip and prove it over a further distance, as he has conquered everyone and everything in the two-mile division.

Sprinter Sacre's story took more of an emotional turn after ten successive victories over fences, a series of heart problems almost saw the horse head for an early and unscheduled retirement.

Thanks to the brilliance of his trainer and his staff, the horse was nursed back to full health to return to the track and memorably win a second Champion Chase in 2016 - the same year Altior won the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

It is hard to tell what avenue the son of Network would have taken if injury and health issues had not have taken over - whether he would have stepped up in trip or continued his domination in the division, no one will ever know.

On paper, Sprinter Sacre at his peak would have to give almost a stone to Altior based on ratings, but even on a level-playing field in a Grade One, it would be an almighty tussle of guts, determination and raw speed between the two stars of Lambourn of past and present.

If the two were to clash when they were both race-fit, who would have come out on top?


3. Red Rum vs Tiger Roll

Continuing over jumps, the Grand National remains the greatest steeplechase on planet Earth.

Tiger Roll made history back in April when he became the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand National's at Aintree for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud.

Red Rum's achievements stretched onto a third success two years after winning in 1973 and 1974, but you would be a fool to discount Tiger Roll from the hat-trick at the Liverpool venue next season or beyond, given his own accomplishments to date.

Tiger Roll - like Altior, is a four-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival and has won the Cross Country race the last two years going, whilst also proving his versatility with a win over hurdles in the lead-up to the spring features.

Whilst Michael O'Leary continues to wind-up the punters with his plans for the nine-year-old, weight carried does not seem to be the issue for the Tiger as he defied 11st 5lb at Aintree in April, which draws a fair and close comparison to Red Rum, who rapidly climbed the ratings ladder with his extravagant performances in the 70's.

Ginger McCain's star carried 3lb more in his third victory in 1977, and Tiger Roll will no doubt be close to the top of the pile of the weights next time around, if managing to return to Merseyside.

To get through the season untouched through injuries is one thing, but to get the luck of the race in running and seeing out another four-mile trip, you need to be something special.

Of course, Tiger Roll is arguably the closest thing to Red Rum in the last forty years, but if the two ever met on even terms, who would be the winner?


4. Yeats vs Stradivarius

Yeats vs Stradivarius - what a fascinating spectacle this would have been, if both horse's were of the same era.

Arguably, the greatest stayer of all time - Yeats was trained by Aidan O'Brien in Ireland, and has a statue at Ascot racecourse commemorating his achievements at the Berkshire venue where he won four straight Gold Cups at the royal meeting.

Under three different jockeys, he collected Group One honours between 2006 and 2009, in the same year's he was crowned European Champion Stayer.

Order Of St George was a fantastic substitute for a few years for Ballydoyle, but very much the new boy on the block comes from John Gosden's yard in the shape of Stradivarius.

Winner of the Stayers Million bonus last term, the five-year-old won back-to-back Gold Cups at the royal meeting last week, and still has plenty of life in him going forward to replicate Yeats' achievements.

The son of Sea The Stars has already won two Goodwood Cups for good added measure, and does not appear to have any dangers to his titles in the division at this moment in time.

If they were alive and racing at the same time, would Stradivarius have managed to hold off the challenge of Yeats, or would the former Ballydoyle inmate been just too good for him?


5. Frankel vs Kingman

Anyone against Frankel would seem a one-horse race in favour of Sir Henry Cecil's former superstar, but Kingman would certainly be the horse that would give him a close run for his money.

Perhaps he could have even beaten him at some stage, but without jumping the gun too much, Frankel was the champion of the world for a reason, retiring in 2012 after fourteen consecutive career victories and never beaten.

Winx managed thirty-three wins in a row, but Frankel beat the best time and time again in Europe's leading races, including the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, the Queen Anne Stakes, and finishing his career racing over ten furlongs in the Juddmonte at York and the Champion Stakes back at Ascot.

The greatest horse of our generation has gone onto become a very successful sire, but in that case, Kingman cannot be put under a different category.

Similarly in the colours of Prince Khaled Abdullah, Kingman retired after his three-year-old campaign and immediately went to stud, having won the Jacques Le Marois in France following successes in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot.

Perhaps this debate would have been closer if the son of Invincible Spirit went onto race as a four-year-old, but he proved he was one of the best around even after sustaining his one and only career defeat in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

No brainer for us, and if the two clashed it would be an epic race of two equine greats.