En­able looks bombproof

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING - MAR­CUS ARMYTAGE

FRANKIE DETTORI cur­rently shares the record for four Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Tri­om­phe wins with six other jock­eys, but if En­able jus­ti­fies her short-priced favouritism and wins the 96th run­ning of France’s great race at Chan­tilly to­day, the jockey will be, as he has so of­ten been through­out his ca­reer, out on his own.

That, however, is the last thing on Dettori’s mind. “I don’t care about the record, all I care about is trying to win,” he said. “She’s in great fet­tle and I hope she trav­els well but [the course at] Chan­tilly can be tricky. You have got to be aware of the hard luck sto­ries there — we will need some good for­tune.”

He added: “She has been very con­sis­tent. She’s had a long season but we will give it a go. She looks well, we’re all happy with her, it’s the big­gest prize of the season, ev­ery­one wants to win and ev­ery­one’s turned up.

“This is her big­gest test yet, and if she’s the best in Europe she’s got to show her stuff and take an­other step for­ward. I just hope it goes well, and if she gets beat by a bet­ter horse, so be it. But it’s all about En­able. If I be­come this that or the other, we can talk about that after­wards, but the only thing on my mind at the mo­ment is to give her the best chance.”

Dettori’s love af­fair with the Arc is nearly three decades old. He has rid­den in 28 of the past 29 run­nings, miss­ing out only once, when he was due to ride the even­tual win­ner Treve but had to sit it out with a bro­ken an­kle.

Vic­to­ries have come on Lamm­tarra in 1995, Sakhee in 2001, Marien­bard in 2002 and, most re­cently, on Golden Horn in 2015, when he had to use his tac­ti­cal ge­nius to win from an out­side draw.

He rode his first win­ner for En­able’s trainer John Gos­den on Susurra­tion at Saint-Cloud in 1991. “I re­mem­ber in the taxi on the way back to the air­port,” re­called Gos­den. “He never stopped talk­ing. He’s learned a fair bit since. He’s a very fine work rider and a great judge. At this stage of his ca­reer we’re like a sec­ond home for him — he’s here an­noy­ing peo­ple. When he ar­rives we say, ‘Here comes the trainer!’ There’s plenty of ban­ter, ex­pe­ri­ence and re­spect.

“He’s a spe­cial per­son and a re­mark­able jockey. On the other hand, he needs things to go right for him.”

As much as Dettori and Gos­den were wary of Golden Horn’s out­side draw at Longchamp in 2015, they will be cir­cum­spect about be­ing drawn two, close to the in­side rail, at Chan­tilly.

Both trainer and jockey will be awake to the po­ten­tial trap of be­ing hemmed in on the rail when the oth­ers come across and when they slow the pace up, as they in­vari­ably do, to go round the last bend.

However in all other re­spects En­able looks bombproof and it is pos­si­ble that she is so much bet­ter than the rest that she can make her own luck. But she seems un­fazed by soft ground — in­deed she looks bet­ter on it — and if Dettori has to take her for­ward to get and hold a good po­si­tion, the York­shire Oaks, in which she made all, was not a wasted ex­er­cise.

So, apart from bad luck in run­ning, what can beat her? The French will point to her hard season but she ap­pears to have thrived on her rac­ing and cer­tainly has not shown any signs to her trainer that she is over the top.

Ulysses has five lengths to make up with En­able on their King Ge­orge form and he has an even worse draw than Dettori and Gos­den’s filly, right on the rail in stall one.

He is best over a mile and a quar­ter, so the sharper track might be more in his favour than As­cot, and he gives her 10lb now instead of a stone but, the­o­ret­i­cally, she should be that much stronger.

Win­ter is the other star filly in Europe this sum­mer. She has a bet­ter draw in stall eight and she has some use­ful es­corts, al­though how Ai­dan O’Brien de­ploys his four other run­ners tac­ti­cally re­mains to be seen. En­gi­neer­ing a sprint fin­ish for Win­ter would help her but Capri, from a wide draw, and Or­der Of St Ge­orge would both pre­fer a test of stamina.

With Al­man­zor re­tired, there ap­pears to be no su­per­star French horse this season and a home vic­tory looks a long shot. In­deed it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the lo­cals get on in the sup­port­ing races. If they have any hope of pulling out of the cur­rent slump, they will need to show up well in the La­gardere and Mar­cel Bous­sac.

Though fur­ther rain will not dent En­able’s hopes — “it will ruin the aes­thet­ics of the race,” said Gos­den — it will in­crease the chances of a third Ger­man-trained Arc win­ner to go with Star Ap­peal and Dane­dream.

Dschingis Se­cret caught the eye with his Prix Foy suc­cess over course and dis­tance three weeks ago and the Ger­man colt looks a good each-way chance.

Frankie Dettori: ‘I just hope it goes well’

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