Frankie Dettori was fighting back the tears on Monday as he paid an emotional tribute to Enable following her retirement.
The popular Italian rode John Gosden’s brilliant mare on all but two of her 19 career starts, steering her to each of her two victories in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and three wins in the King George at Ascot.
The six-year-old was back in sixth when bidding to make history with a third Arc at ParisLongchamp just over a week ago, and Dettori admitted to having mixed emotions after receiving confirmation on Sunday evening that she had run her final race.
He said: “Lord Grimthorpe rang me last night. Obviously I shed a tear as I was a bit emotional. I went to see her this morning. I accept the decision and she doesn’t owe anyone anything. It has been a great journey for three and a half years.
“She has touched my heart and has been one of the great mares of our generation. She has won 11 Group Ones and has simply been amazing.”
Dettori identified Enable’s first Arc success at Chantilly in 2017 as her best performance, while getting huge pleasure out of her second King George victory which came after a titanic tussle with the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean last year.
On her first Arc success, Dettori said: “The best performance was the first Arc.
“I knew had the race won by the chateau in Chantilly, she was just in unbeatable form that day.
“The King George against Crystal Ocean stands out – she had every chance of throwing in the towel and she didn’t.
“The Oaks would be the other standout race as that is when she first really burst on to the scene.”
While connections did not immediately rule out running Enable again following her latest visit to Paris, Dettori conceded that deep down he knew it would be the last time he would sit on her back – competitively at least.
He added: “After walking back in after the Arc I was trying to enjoy it, as I knew in my heart it was going to be her last race. It is a tough task after finishing sixth in the Arc to have one more dance, so I half-expected this decision.
“It would have been unfair on her. Maybe she is now telling us something, but she has left the game in one piece and luckily for me she is still in Newmarket, so I can still see her. I will go feed her Polos at the stud, obviously not every day, but when I can.
“I’ve been begging John to put me on her one last time in a morning so I can give her my last goodbye.”
He added: “Her longevity and CV is amazing. I’ve got to stay and ride for another three more years, as she is going to Kingman and I wouldn’t mind trying the progeny!
“If they are half as good they are going to be exciting.”