Emotional Dettori hails record-breaking queen of the turf Enable

Sat 25 Jul 2020

Frankie Dettori was left fighting back the tears as Enable wrote her name in the annals of the turf with a record-breaking third success in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.

Never one to hide his emotions, the popular Italian kissed the heavens before playing up to the lucky few in attendance and performing one of his trademark flying dismounts after John Gosden’s equine superstar gained her 11th Group One victory in the mile-and-a-half showpiece.

Although there was a wide smile on his face, he admitted there was a lump in his throat too – knowing this victory will be one of his last aboard the undisputed queen of the turf, with this season expected to be her last in training at the age of six.

Dettori said: “It’s amazing. It’s never been done before – three King Georges. I’m over the moon and have a bit of a lump in my throat, I must say.

Listen: Frankie Dettori on the brilliant Enable

“The fact that I’ve only got her for a few more months makes me a bit emotional, because she’s special.

“She has taken me emotionally to places no other horses have taken me. It’s nerve-racking when you ride her, because you want everything to go right – we’ve had a tremendous time together around the world.

“It will be very hard for me at this stage of my career to find another one like her, so I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can.”

Having had to pull out all the stops against Crystal Ocean in this race 12 months ago, Enable’s victory this time resembled a racecourse gallop – given the ease with which she cast her two rivals aside, something which took even her jockey by surprise.

Dettori added: “I was confident I had her where I wanted when I rode her in work last week. She has given me the same vibes as she did last year.

 The Enable Dream Team after a third King George triumph (Focusonracing)
The Enable Dream Team after a third King George triumph (Focusonracing)

“I thought ‘where is he (Ryan Moore on Japan)’, because everything was so quiet. Then we had this massive headwind with the rain, so it was a bit noisy.

“I was surprised he was so far back and off the bridle, because he is a good tool on his day. It was great. It was a like a hot knife through butter today. It was a great feeling to have.”

Some might have been left wondering if Enable still possessed that same prowess she has shown for so long after this month’s comeback defeat in the Eclipse at Sandown – but that did not worry Dettori in the slightest.

He said: “As John explained, it took her a lot longer to get motivated for the Eclipse.

“I wanted to be more aggressive at Sandown, but John didn’t want me to get involved with a horse not fully fit in case we took her backwards – so I rode a bit more conservatively, and it has paid off.

“John has done a brilliant job with her, but you don’t need me to tell you that. He’s changed it around with her to get the fire back, and he’s just a brilliant trainer.”

 Enable and Dettori are on a different plane (Focusonracing)
Enable and Dettori are on a different plane (Focusonracing)

Not only did the victory see Enable secure a place in the record books, it also means Dettori has matched Lester Piggott’s seven victories in the race – 25 years after securing his first aboard the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Lammtarra.

He said: “Seven King Georges is magic. I remember when the Queen gave me the trophy for one of my early ones, either Doyen or Swain.

“I was talking to her and said this was my third or fourth King George, and she turned around to me and said ‘Lester won seven’ and put me straight back in my box – but now I’ve done it. It is amazing to draw level, because he is a racing hero.”

With one record already in the locker, all roads will lead back to ParisLongchamp in October for Enable’s attempt to avenge last year’s defeat in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and claim an unprecedented third success in that Group One showpiece too.

Dettori said: “We want to take her to the Arc as best we can, and she showed that she is still very competitive.

“Winning three King Georges is amazing, but we really want to try and win the third Arc. We came so close last year.

“With this kind of performance, we are still in with a shot. We don’t know about Love or Sottsass or the others, but we are going to be competitive – and fingers crossed we can keep it like that.”

Every sport needs champions to celebrate – and like Dettori, triumphant trainer Gosden is proud to be part of the Enable story.

He said: “She is important to racing. I remember coming back from America going all the way to watch Desert Orchid in the (Cheltenham) Gold Cup.

“It took me four or five hours to get there, I had one cup of tea, saw Desert Orchid – and drove back. I just wanted to see Desert Orchid, and horses like that are incredibly important to our game. This was a bit of a Seabiscuit-War Admiral effort today.

“She is very popular worldwide, and I’ve friends in Australia and America watching the race.”

While Dettori is never one to hold back celebrating big-race victories, Gosden is far harder book to read – but he admitted this win ranks right up there with the best of his glittering career.

“This win means a lot – it hasn’t been easy getting to this point,” he said.

“We wanted to go to (Royal) Ascot but then decided we’d be better waiting until we knew there would definitely be racing – and that was July.

“I find the responsibility quite enormous. It weighs heavy, but it’s a pleasure to be around her.”

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