FRANKIE DETTORI’S emotional reaction to Enable’s win in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks epitomised what this magnificent mare means to the jockey – and racing.
Normally so ebullient, the charismatic Italian was lost for words after Enable put up one of the all-time great performances in York racing history.
And the world-famous jockey who has won virtually every big race in the world had good reason to be choked as the five-year-old undertook two laps of honour to rapturous applause.
Trained by John Gosden and owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, Dettori, 48, was visibly drained after Enable – now the people’s horse – had extended her winning sequence to 12 in breathtaking style. He does feel the pressure.
He was overcome by the Yorkshire crowd – and how they embraced his special horse. Ten deep in the paddock before the race, they cheered when the odds-on favourite streaked clear of her great rival Magical and then gave the victor the ovation of her life.
He then revealed that this was Enable’s last race in the UK and that the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which she will attempt to win for an unprecedented third time this October, will be her swansong.
I’m really tearful, because it’s the last day she’ll be running in England, so it’s special. She got a tremendous turn-out and produced a tremendous performance,Frankie Dettori
And then Dettori wiped away the tears – all while waving one of the thousands of Enable flags which had been handed to racegoers who, in another Ladies Day first, were more enthralled by the thoroughbred action on the turf than the fashion fun and frivolity. Even the bars emptied so spectators could witness history on one of those mesmerising ‘I was there’ days in sport.
“I’m really tearful, because it’s the last day she’ll be running in England, so it’s special. She got a tremendous turn-out and produced a tremendous performance,” he told The Yorkshire Post.
“She was very exuberant and felt fantastic. I waited until the two furlong pole, and could sense Ryan (Moore) on Magical, and said ‘Come on girl’. I know how good she is, and when I pressed the button she went. I don’t want to talk too much because I’m feeling very tearful and this crowd is incredible.”
It wasn’t just the packed crowd which embraced the occasion. So did Enable’s connections. Asked beforehand if he felt nervous, Teddy Grimthorpe, the York chairman and Prince Khalid’s racing manager, said: “Excited, excited.”
Scenes reminiscent of 2012 when Frankel conquered York, Enable was the personification of calmness during the preliminaries on the Knavesmire, her ears only pricking when the bell was rung for jockeys to mount.
Yet any fears of this four runner race becoming unduly tactical were quickly dispelled when Enable broke fastest of all. Tracked by stablemate Lah Ti Dar, the pair led Aidan O’Brien’s aforementioned Magical – the world’s best filly on official ratings – and the Irish trainer’s second string (and intended pacemaker) South Sea Pearl.
In the home straight, Magical – who had lost her three previous clashes with Enable – briefly challenged before Dettori, to huge cheers, asked Enable to stretch clear. Victorious by two and three-quarter lengths, it was one of Dettori’s more straightforward big race wins.
Already the best mare in the world, there’s a case to be made for Enable to be the highest-ranked horse in training as Dettori performed a famous flying dismount after his 14th Group One win on 2019.
“It was a gorgeous performance from her. She was quick from the gates and there’s no point taking her back, so I said to Frankie if she’s out there let her float away,” explained Gosden, the winning trainer. “She was drawn one and there was no point complicating it and disappointing her, we should let her go and do her own thing.
“She cruised round there and really quickened the last two furlongs – she really turned it on.
“She has this amazing competitive mind. She’s just a great filly with a great constitution. I’ve seen some wonderful racemares in my time and she’s one of those. There’s not been many of them. I think it was great to bring her here again.”
Rare record for superstar
SUPERSTAR mare Enable is only the second British-bred horse this century to win 10 Group One races – a record she now shares with the legendary Frankel.
Unlike Frankel who won all 14 career starts, Enable has suffered one blemish in her 14-race career – she was third at Newbury on just her second career start in April 2017.
However she will match Frankel’s 14 wins if she wins the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp before being retired. Like Frankel, Enable is owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah who remains one of the world’s foremost owner-breeders.
Enable – sired by former King George winner Nathaniel – now has £9.3m of prize money to her name as a result of big race victories in England, Ireland, France, America and Yorkshire where she is now a two-time winner of the Yorkshire Oaks following her previous success in 2017.