PARIS • Jockey Frankie Dettori’s “favourite girl” Enable has her final tilt at making racing history tomorrow, as she strives to become the first horse to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe three times.
The supermare, who won in 2017 and 2018, is favourite in the Group 1 race over 2,400m at Longchamp in Paris, France.
The Arc is regarded as Europe’s most prestigious race.
At six years old, trainer John Gosden’s “battle-hardened” mare has kept racing fans’ hearts beating in the strangest of seasons, interrupted by the coronavirus.
Enable has endeared herself to racegoers through her exploits on the track and also her longevity. At her age, most top-class horses have retired to produce blue-blooded progeny.
At 49, Italian star Dettori could easily have opted for a comfortable retirement.
But, as he had said earlier this year, Enable has “taken me to places emotionally I have never been before”.
This bond was strengthened when Dettori and Enable romped to a historic third victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July.
“What a horse, what can you say? It’s no burden to say I love her so much. My favourite girl,” Dettori purred.
“People get attached to her, no more than me and Imran (the groom), who looks after her. She has got this amazing presence and these massive, big ears.
“She walks with her chest sticking out and you can see it. She gives those vibes to everyone and people are attached to her for that reason.
“I get the privilege to ride her and the public are actually riding with me. We really need to cherish these special horses.”
Gosden, 69, describes the horse as a “phenomenal athlete” with great mental strength.
“She is in the zone when racing,” he said.
“She is like all great athletes. What separates them from the ordinary ones is being strong-minded.”
This competitive streak extends even to when she is out of the limelight and doing ordinary training gallops.
“If she doesn’t go out first lot (on the gallops), she gets annoyed that she has to wait,” said Gosden.
“She loves going out there and carries herself magnificently – she is a very proud person.”
Gosden said great horses like Enable, who has won more than £10 million (S$17.5 million) in prize money with 11 of her 15 wins coming in Group 1 races, give racing a rare chance to extend its appeal outside the sport.
“Horses like her are incredibly important to our game,” he said.