Legendary French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek will be cheering Enable on in her bid to win the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for a record third time.
Head-Maarek saddled the mighty Treve to lift Europe’s premier all-aged middle-distance race in 2013 and 2014.
Treve just fell short in her quest for an unprecedented hat-trick when fourth to Golden Horn in 2015, but Head feels Enable is the right horse to complete the job in the showpiece race which will be live on Sky Sports Racing on Sunday.
“I hope she wins and I will be there to see it – I think she is an incredible horse, and she deserves everything,” said Head-Maarek, who retired in February 2018 after a highly-successful career spanning nearly 40 years that included an earlier Arc success with Three Troikas in 1979.
“If she beats Treve’s record, I will be very pleased.
“Treve was beaten by Golden Horn, but it was nothing to be ashamed of. Of course you want to win, but it’s very difficult for a horse to win the Arc three times.
“I hope this year Enable will be able to do it.”
Head, already full of admiration for John Gosden’s superstar, added: “She has done things Treve never did.
“She has travelled all over the world. She won the Breeders’ Cup in America after the Arc last year, and that was something no one had done before.
“Then she has won the King George twice. For me, she is the best horse I have seen in years and years.
“John is a fantastic trainer, and Frankie Dettori is a fantastic jockey, so everything is there.
“I trained for her owner Prince Khalid from 1979 until I retired. He’s the best customer I’ve known.
“He’s a charming man and he is so easy to deal with. He deserves to win that race again with Enable.
“You enjoy it when you see that kind of animal running. You go racing to see the good ones and the big ones, not the claimers or the handicap horse.
“Racing is fantastic for that, and it will be a fantastic day on Sunday.”
Head-Maarek has looked through the field in search of possible dangers to the hot favourite, but cannot see any horse spoiling the Enable party.
“I think the main danger for me with the French horses could be the (Prix du) Jockey Club winner Sottsass, but we don’t know exactly his worth,” she said.
“I don’t think the Niel was a good race, quality wise. You have to beat better horses than that to win the Arc.
“Andre Fabre has a big yard, and his only runner is Waldgeist. He is a good horse and very consistent. He hasn’t got the class of Enable, but he could be in the first four or five. Andre knows what to do to have a horse ready at the right time.”
Head-Maarek notes too there is, of course, as ever a strong international challenge.
“You have got (Aidan) O’Brien’s horses,” she said.
“Magical is a good filly, and Japan is a good horse – but saying that, I think the filly (Enable) is much better than those on what I’ve seen.
“The Japanese horses, we don’t know them very well.
“Everybody will be looking for her to win. A record has to be beaten. Two wins is one thing, but three is better.
“Only fillies can do it, because if colts win the Arc twice, they go to stud – so there is no way.
“You’ve got the right horse to do it this year. For me, she is the best of the field.”
Enable will race from stall nine of the 12 runners, but Head-Maarek believes the draw is irrelevant – especially to a horse of her ability.
“I won the Arc with a horse drawn in 22. At that distance, 2400 metres, the draw does not mean anything,” she said.
“She is capable of waiting, capable to go in front and is capable of doing many things. She does not need anyone.
“Frankie is so good. He knows Longchamp like his pocket. If she goes in front, nobody will see her.
“She is that kind of horse – you can do anything with. She is so easy.”