Enable was duly crowned Queen of Chantilly, winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with a performance of sheer majesty.
We hoped and prayed that Gosden’s outstanding filly would arrive in France at the peak of her powers. And it proved a five-star performance all-round, as she made it five Group One victories for the campaign, giving Frankie Dettori his fifth success in the Arc. Owner Khalid Abdullah was also securing his fifth victory in Europe’s most prestigious race.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and that man was the enigmatic Italian Lanfranco Dettori. Tactics were always going to play a huge part in the Arc, especially with a Ballydoyle ‘bunch of fives’ doing their utmost to spoil the party.
As anticipated by many, and no doubt by Frankie, a pair of O’Brien colts were immediately sent to the front in hope of unsettling the favourite, maybe even trapping the filly on the rail. Dettori was alert to such a manoeuvre, and having shadowed Idaho in a move towards the head of affairs, she was then switched outside of Order Of St George, as he made his move alongside his stable companion.
That piece of quick-thinking from the Italian enabled Enable a perfect ‘posi’ outside of the Ballydoyle boys, ensuring a clear passage once the moment came to strike. At the two-furlong mark Dettori could wait no more, and with a ‘Whoosh’ the flying filly was gone. She stretched four-lengths clear in the blink of an eye, with the Juddmonte International winner Ulysses doing his best to stay in her slipstream. Resistance proved futile and at the line Andre Fabre’s Cloth Of Stars ran on strongly to snatch second from Stoute’s courageous colt.
An emotional John Gosden said of his phenomenal filly: “She’s very special. She was well positioned by Frankie in order to show her sheer class and brilliance.” And of the future he added: “I think it would be hard on the filly to go to the Breeders’ Cup. If she’s in great form, we should consider next year. It would be wonderful to go to Longchamp, for the opening of the new Longchamp, and try and do it again.”
Dettori was as exuberant as ever after the thrilling success, saying: “She won like I expected. She’s an absolute freak. I said to John last week that she’s the best she’s ever been. He’s a genius to keep this filly 100% for the whole season. I got in position A, and knew I had no weight, and I know she stays, so I kicked and she gave it to me and I put four lengths and the race was over.”
Sir Michael Stoute appeared satisfied with third-home Ulysses, saying: “He's run his race and there are no excuses regarding the ground as it rode well. I don't think he's had too hard a race and, if that's the case, we will take him to the Breeders' Cup Turf again.” His jockey Jim Crowley was also pleased with the performance, adding: “I had a lovely position throughout, tracking Enable. He picked up well for me when I asked him in the straight, but the winner must be an exceptional filly.”
Order Of St George proved best of Ballydoyle in fourth. Aidan O’Brien summarised by saying: “That was probably far enough for Winter and we might go back to a mile and a quarter for the race at Ascot (Qipco Champion Stakes). Seventh Heaven is getting better and Idaho was probably lit up a bit. Order Of St George ran very well and we might look at the two-mile race (Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup) at Ascot.”
As for Enable, the thrill of victory was almost matched by the possibility of a return to action next season. She has proved herself peerless, and the prospect of witnessing such power and elegance during another summer campaign is simply glorious.