FRANKIE Dettori has been associated with countless iconic moments throughout his long and illustrious career – but even he is feeling the nerves as Enable stands on the brink of history in Paris this weekend.
No horse has ever won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe three times, and the hugely-popular Italian will attempt to break yet another record by steering John Gosden’s stable star to glory.
Not since the days of Dancing Brave – appropriately in the same colours of owner Khalid Abdullah – has the European middle-distance championship commanded such attention from every corner of the sport.
Already a six-time Arc-winning rider, Dettori said last night: “It’s been a circus, but quite rightly so, because she is trying to do what has never been done before and scale a mountain that has not been scaled before. This, in racing terms, would be as big as Sir Steve Redgrave claiming five Olympic gold medals.
“There has been a media frenzy all over the world, because it is the biggest race. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous – of course I’m nervous. I get nervous the night before, and I get quite obnoxious, so my family kind of run away from me. But it is part and parcel of riding the favourite in the Arc.”
Having established themselves as Flat racing’s most formidable partnership over the course of the past three seasons, Dettori is fully aware emotions may get the better of him – like they did after the Yorkshire Oaks – if this is to be the last time they race together.
He said: “It will be a sad day, because it could be the last day I ride her. I cried at York – and there is every chance I will cry again on Sunday. I love horses, because it’s part of my job, but she has taken me to places no other horses have, emotionally.
“I thought what she achieved the first year was remarkable – winning three Oaks, a King George and an Arc. Then she came back and won another Arc and a Breeders’ Cup, then this year an Eclipse and another King George and Yorkshire Oaks, which is just unheard of.
“This year’s King George is the one that stands out. It is the hardest race I’ve been involved in all of my career, but it was worth it. She showed the world that day that not only is she good, but that she has guts. She is tough, and that will to win – Crystal Ocean served it up to me, and she took her gloves off and fought it out. It will go down as one of the great races.”