Frankie Dettori has admitted he “shed a tear” during the hours that followed Enable’s heartbreaking defeat in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp last weekend.
John Gosden’s brilliant mare was a red-hot favourite to become the first horse to win Europe’s premier middle-distance contest three times, but was mowed down late on by Waldgeist – providing trainer Andre Fabre with a record eighth victory in the race.
Having had almost a week to digest what happened, Dettori spoke eloquently on ITV Racing’s Opening Show on Saturday morning – reflecting on both the pre-race build-up and the aftermath.
Dettori said: “It was amazing – as soon I stepped out of the weighing room people were screaming and going berserk. It was like being at the football, it was not horse racing any more.
“The paddock was rammed and then I got on the filly and I was trying to take it all in – it was a special moment.
“The parade seemed to go on and on and when I got near the winning post they weren’t shouting Enable any more, they were shouting my name. I never expected such warmth from not only the English people, but I think the French were behind her as well.
“The race went exactly like I thought. I had a great spot and the pace was strong. I was able to save ground and give my horse a breather and everything was fine until the Andre Fabre horse spoiled it in the last 100 yards!”
Dettori continued: “The race could not have gone better. I wish Magical had took me into the race a bit longer, but once Sottsass arrived I had to go.
“Waldgeist quickened and I didn’t, that’s the difference. The only thing that made him go and my filly stop was the ground – if the ground was good I would have got to the line.
“She really tried her heart out and we came close. I shed a tear on Sunday night, but she went down in glory, even in defeat.”
Connections are due to decide soon whether Enable will race on or be retired from racing.
Dettori is obviously keeping his fingers crossed he gets another chance to partner her in Paris next year.
He said: “Of course I was deflated, but I had another three races to ride in, so I had to pick myself up and try and get it out of my mind.
“It’s been an amazing experience for everybody involved and I just hope Prince Khalid keeps her in training and we can try again next year!”