Sunday 22 October 2017

Fifth Arc win sees Dettori jump to top of the pile

Frankie Dettori celebrates in trademark fashion after Enable’s victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Frankie Dettori celebrates in trademark fashion after Enable’s victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Marcus Armytage

Frankie Dettori became the most successful jockey in Qatar Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe history and Enable, his fifth winner in the race, earned her place in racing's roll of equine greats when she galloped to a "too easy" two-and-a-half-length success.

There is no point in getting older if you do not get more experienced and the 46-year-old jockey cleared the potential tactical minefield of an inside draw by switching outside the Ballydoyle's front-running pair, Idaho and Order of St George, soon after the start.

Never out of the first three, Dettori waited until two furlongs out to unleash Enable.

From that point onwards, with the Chateau de Chantilly and her 17 rivals left in her wake, the outcome of the 96th Arc was never in doubt.

Enable shot clear and Dettori was able to stroke her neck as she cruised home to collect her fifth Group One of the season.

Cloth of Stars fared best in the battle for second with Ulysses, running yet another solid race but once again no match for the filly, a further length and a quarter away in third.

"I toyed with the idea of making the running," said Dettori, whose flying dismount had even more spring to it than usual.

"I was aware Idaho, Order of St George and Capri were all good stayers, and I said to John (Gosden, trainer) that, when I reach the little tower, after 400 metres, I'll find out what's happening.

"Idaho was a bit free so I let him go on and I dragged the filly back in behind Order of St George.

"At that moment, my job was done. I was where I wanted to be. I had free air on my left, running away around the bend. I was nearly clipping Order of St George's heels.

Counted

"I went too early at York so I counted to 10 here and went at the 400-metre pole. She burst three or four lengths clear. Once she plateaued at that speed, I knew it was all over. It was so smooth and effortless. In an Arc, you expect something to happen, it seemed too easy."

Gosden was fulsome in praise of Dettori's early manoeuvre.

"We walked the whole track," he said. "Frankie was very clear he wanted to go forward, and the critical part of the race was very early.

"It was the one thing he did which was perfect - he was in the perfect position to give her every opportunity to win and not get boxed in."

Gosden even had an affectionate dig at the veteran rider, saying: "I'm very pleased an up-and-coming young jockey was able to use his head.

"He was eccentric and brilliant on Golden Horn two years ago, here he used his experience - and confidence.

"She's a wonderful filly. She goes and, then if they come to her, she goes again."

Having eclipsed the likes of Freddy Head, Yves Saint-Martin, Pat Eddery, and Olivier Peslier, all of whom won it four times, Dettori said: "It's a great achievement. I've had 29 goes and five wins - maybe not such a good strike-rate!

"First and foremost, though, it's about Enable - she's the best filly I've ever ridden. John's been a genius to keep her in top shape all year."

Order Of St George, third behind stablemate Found 12 months ago, fared best of the Ballydoyle camp, finishing fourth.

Aidan O'Brien also saddled Idaho (eighth), Winter (ninth), Seventh Heaven (14th) and Capri (17th).

He said: "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."

Though the royal stables and the Renaissance Chateau de Chantilly contribute to one of the most stunning backdrops to any racecourse in the world, the jockeys and France Galop will be pleased when the Arc returns to the revamped Longchamp in 2018 after its two-year sojourn in France's prime training centre.

The French will also be hoping the Longchamp return brings them a change of luck as there is a dearth of good horses in France right now.

When Martyn Meade's Aclaim won the Prix de La Foret, it completed a whitewash of the home team in yesterday's six Group One races.

Rhododendron, with Seamie Heffernan up, saw off stablemate Hydrangea (Ryan Moore) to claim top honours in the Longines-sponsored Prix de l'Opera.

Aidan O'Brien's pair were never too far off the pace being set by John Gosden's The Black Princess and, after fighting their way to the front in the final furlong, it was Rhododendron that claimed a narrow verdict. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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