Rousing receptions are saved for only the very best – and those at Sandown on Saturday gave the superstar that is Enable the sort of welcome fit for a queen following her victory in the Coral-Eclipse.
Many great warriors over both codes have graced the turf at the Esher track, but it is fair to say few will have come back to quite the unbridled delight that greeted the John Gosden-trained five-year-old, as she returned to action in style.
The roof-raising cheers as Enable hit the front were in turn replaced by a round of applause as she crossed the line, before Frankie Dettori’s name was sung to the tune of ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes on the walk to the packed winner’s enclosure.
Her owner Prince Khalid Abdullah may be a man content to live a private life away from the glitz and the glamour attached to her latest victory, but his pride and joy is fast becoming a horse of the masses, thanks to her sparkling CV and sheer ability to light up the racetrack.
His racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: “Prince Khalid is a very private man, but he understands that horses like this become public property and that is to the benefit of the sport really.
“We need to have flag-bearers. We are very lucky to have Frankie aboard, as he is a fantastic advert to the game.
“For her to come back for another season at the top level is very exciting and something everyone can enjoy.
“This is what we all come into racing for, and this is what Prince Khalid breeds horses for. I think from that point of view you have to pinch yourself really.”
While it looked like Enable had never been away, given the manner of her three-quarters of a length victory over old rival Magical, for Gosden it was a performance he only believed she was capable of producing in recent weeks.
He said of the 4-6 favourite: “It is great to have her back, as it is eight months since she ran. It is testament to her, as it was not easy. It is like a boxer that has been off for a long time – getting back in the gym, working out and tightening up and getting the weight.
“She is very competitive and it didn’t show until the last 14 days. It is interesting that suddenly this edge came back. We got her back on her favourite gallop, the round gallop – she never went off for a racecourse gallop as I wanted to bring her here not fully wound up for a mile and a quarter.
“She was doing everything perfectly, but you could see that hunger wasn’t there – then it came.
“It was very apparent in the way she carried herself, and her behaviour. You go into her box and that is her space, you don’t mess with her otherwise she will split you in two.”
Having now steered Enable to glory on all but one of her 11 victories, it was a success that for three-times champion jockey Dettori was as sweet as the very first he enjoyed aboard her, over two years ago in the Cheshire Oaks.
The Italian – who rode a treble on the day – said: “I am as ecstatic as I was when I won my first race on her. She is a superstar and she is unbelievable now with the Eclipse on top.
“I would say so (best ridden). Her CV is the best I’ve ridden. You could have arguments that Golden Horn was better, but her longevity is incredible and let’s enjoy her while we have her.
“Not many horses get a crowd like that. She is a star and we build her up to be a star and she delivers and that is what we want.
“I never stop getting excited in the mornings and when I ride her in the morning, as she is very special. I really love her and she is great.
“She’s the queen of racing.”