Dettori still full of confidence in Enable

‘All roads lead to Longchamp again’ – via Ascot

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Frankie Dettori is confident Enable’s brilliant ability remains fully intact despite her comeback defeat at Sandown.

John Gosden’s dual Arc heroine has been kept in training with the chief objective of becoming the first ever three-time winner of Europe’s premier middle-distance contest, having come up a little short in her hat-trick bid last October.

Enable was a warm order to successfully defend her crown in the Coral-Eclipse on Sunday – and while she was ultimately unable to reel in the front-running Ghaiyyath, Dettori is expecting her to improve before a tilt at the King George this month and later, a return to France.

“Ghaiyyath is definitely very good – in a small field with an easy lead, he’s pretty much untouchable,” the popular Italian told the Nick Luck Daily Podcast.

“I think it was a great performance, to beat two very good horses like Enable and Japan. Over a mile and a quarter, I would not be confident (of reversing the form) – (but) obviously over a mile and a half, yes.”

Dettori feels his decision not to put Enable into the heat of battle too early at Sandown will pay off in the long run.

He added: “I didn’t want to be too aggressive on Enable after a nine-month lay-off. I kind of looked after her for the first bit of the race – next time, if I take him (Ghaiyyath) on, I’ll be a bit closer and make a race of it.

“The King George and the Arc have always been her targets, so I didn’t want to bottom her first time out against a very fit, good horse. If I got into a race too early with horses a lot fitter than me, instead of bringing her forward, she could have taken a knock backwards.

“I had to be careful, to make sure she came out of the race in good fettle and bouncing, instead of getting a knockout punch from a good horse and then not recover from it.

“She’s six now, so it’s a lot harder to keep her motivated in the morning. She’s never been a good workhorse, but even less so nowadays, because she’s been going up and down those gallops for the last four years.

“We did a racecourse gallop; now we’ve got the Eclipse under our belt, and now we can start thinking of being really competitive in a King George – and then all roads lead to Longchamp again.”

The previous afternoon, Dettori was out of luck in both the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks.

The leading jockey appeared to have strong claims of landing his third Derby aboard Ed Walker’s English King, but the son of Camelot could finish only fifth behind the front-running Serpentine.

While the latter was a surprise winner, Dettori insists his victory was no fluke.

He said: “It was bizarre that the horse (Serpentine) could do that and still keep going, so I’ve got to take my hat off – the winner must be very good.

“I had a terrible draw in stall one and was always on the back foot, because he jumped left. Then I was relying on Mogul to take me into the race, but he couldn’t lay up round Tattenham Corner.

“I probably could have finished second if I’d got a better run. But I’ve watched the race 10 times, and we should take nothing away from the winner – he quickened up and kept going.

“I think the winner was the best horse in the race.”

Dettori partnered Gosden’s Frankly Darling in the Oaks, but she had to make do with minor honours in third as Love added to her 1000 Guineas win with a brilliant display.

The latter is now clear favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, just ahead of Enable.

“I thought it was an amazing performance (from Love),” said Dettori.

“We saw what she did in the Guineas. I followed her the other day and when Ryan (Moore) asked her to go she just put daylight between herself and the rest – it was really, really impressive.

“With all the fillies allowances, when she takes on the older horses, she’ll be a horse to be reckoned with.”

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