Frankie Dettori has seen plenty in his long and illustrious career – but even he was reduced to tears after Enable won her 10th Group One in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York.
The undoubted star of the last three Flat seasons, John Gosden’s five-year-old has proven her versatility over 10 furlongs and 12 and won in England, Ireland, France and America.
Her only defeat in 14 races to date – with one more to come barring accidents – was on her three-year-old return at Newbury behind stablemate Shutter Speed.
This was, though, her British swansong, because her whole campaign this year has been built around winning the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for a third time – something no horse has ever done.
Dettori, who has surely never had things so good, could not hide his emotions afterwards.
“It’s embarrassing crying on TV, but I was crying with happiness!” he said.
“She felt great and she’s had a great send-off in front of the English people.
“I was always in control today. The temptation in the past on her has always been to kick a bit too soon – but today I thought I’d let Ryan (Moore, on Magical) come to me before I kicked.
“When I gave her a little tap she put her head down, and I knew then I’d won. Magical is no slouch – but she is absolutely amazing, tremendous.
“In fairness we wanted an exercise canter. But Magical made a race of it, because she’s very solid – and if you gauge her performance through Magical it was amazing.
“This year we’ve had a better preparation for the Arc. But we’ve still got seven weeks, so it will be sleepless nights until then.
“It’s amazing, because she had a hard race in the King George and she was a bit tense today because of the crowd, but in the race she was fantastic.
“She’s uncomplicated – she has a great presence and a massive engine. I love her.
“I’ve never ridden a horse like her in my life. To have her longevity is incredible. Golden Horn was a great horse – but I only had him for a year.”
For Gosden, the race could not have gone better – with Dettori choosing to make all the running.
“We discussed it – she was drawn one, and there was no point complicating it and disappointing her. We should let her go and do her own thing,” he said.
“Magical came to her, but she found a lot in the last 400 metres. To that extent she showed her class and it was a good performance.
“She’s not a filly that likes to be let all the way down, so between the King George and the Arc was too big a gap. She prefers to be let down a little and then brought back up for a race.”
He added: “This was a nice stepping stone to the Arc. But I’m very aware of the three-year-old colts – we saw a nice one win here yesterday in Japan, and Jean-Claude (Rouget) has a nice horse (Sottsass) who won the Prix du Jockey Club – I thought he looked exceptional.
“She’s got tough competition from the three-year-old boys – and there’s always going to be a sneaky three-year-old filly in there, that’s for sure.”
Gosden ruled out taking Enable back to America and a repeat Breeders’ Cup bid, so it appears highly likely ParisLongchamp will be her final outing.
“She’s already won a Breeders’ Cup – to go out there again on fast ground after the Arc, I don’t think that would be fair,” said the trainer.
“Prince Khalid (Abdullah, owner) has always been a huge supporter of the Breeders’ Cup. But I just think that is asking too much – she’s given her all.”