FRANKIE Dettori has his sights set on winning the Breeders’ Cup with Enable after the filly became just the eighth dual winner of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Dettori – who was winning Europe’s premier race for a record sixth time – was quick to praise trainer John Gosden after the champion’s injury-hit preparation.
The former champion jockey was riding in the race for a 30th time and just held off the late challenge of Sea of Class trained by Skipton-born William Haggas.
“I didn’t know if I was dreaming or if what happened was actually true, but I’ve watched the replay a hundred times and the great thing is I always win! It was an amazing occasion and a fantastic race,” said the ecstatic 47-year-old as he reflected upon another career highlight.
“I was carrying everyone’s pressure. Most of the people I met wanted Enable to win. Achieving this great feat is a hard thing to do.”
Like those watching in the stands at the revamped ParisLongchamp, Dettori thought he thought the victory margin was going to be nearer the two-and-a-half-length margin Enable posted 12 months ago.
Instead it was just a short neck after the James Doyle-ridden Sea Of Class, handed a disadvantageous wide draw, finished fastest of all.
“When I kicked with 300 yards to go and got three lengths on the field, I thought, ‘we’ve got this in the bag’,” said the winning rider. “I went from being excited to having a massive panic. When the petrol started running out and she was getting tired, I thought for a moment, ‘this is not fun anymore’.
“When I crossed the line I didn’t know what to feel. It just felt surreal. Since she crossed the line in last year’s Arc, the plan was always to defend her title.”
The riding plaudits and headlines may have gone the way of Dettori – but he believes the success was all down to the expertise of Gosden who has nursed Enable back to fitness following a knee injury and then a health scare after she won her comeback race at Kempton last month.
He said: “John Gosden is an amazing trainer and to do what he did with this filly to win the Arc again was brilliant.
“The build up didn’t go our way, but the Arc was still the target all along and John Gosden should take all the credit for that.
“Every Arc is special in its own way.
“I don’t want to single this one out, but it was a thrilling achievement.”
The six-time Group One winner could be sent on her travels again in a bid to register a seventh top-level success, with a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs on November 3 under consideration.
“The Breeders’ Cup I think is the plan. John and Prince Khalid Abdullah (owner-breeder) will have to make a decision, but they will let the dust settle first,” added Dettori who hopes Enable will stay in training and attempt to become the first ever triple Arc winner next year. “I love the filly and she has given me a great thrill tackling and winning some of the best races in the world. She has got a special place inside me.”
The innovative team at Beverley racecourse have been shortlisted in three categories for this year’s RCA Showcase and Awards. Staged by the Racecourse Association, they celebrate excellence at the country’s 59 tracks.
Other local courses in the running for awards are Pontefract, nominated in two categories, Thirsk and Doncaster. The new owners’ and trainers’ stand at Wetherby – which opened a year ago – has also been shortlisted.