Mission Impossible? Dettori and his favourite girl' eye third Arc
Frankie Dettori and his "favourite girl" Enable are targeting the "impossible" by winning a third Arc de Triomphe in October, fired up by a close bond and decent supply of mint sweets.
The six-year-old mare won an historic third King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday in sizzling style.
However, trainer John Gosden and Dettori acknowledge they will need to get their tactics right in the Arc on October 4.
They believe they got their strategy wrong last year, being headed by Waldgeist late on to finish second.
Enable may be getting on in years but for Gosden her great strengths are she does not have too many miles on the clock and is as tough as teak.
"She has enormous mental strength," said Gosden after her 5 1/2 length win in the King George.
"When Prince Khalid (Abdullah, her owner and breeder) asked me last year that he was thinking about keeping her in training for one more year, I said that she adores training.
"If she doesn't go out first lot (on the gallops), she gets annoyed that she has to wait.
"She loves going out there and carries herself magnificently -– she is a very proud person."
- 'Torture in your face' -
Dettori credits Gosden's ability to "think outside the box" in keeping Enable focussed and fresh.
"She is unbelievable," said Dettori.
"Now we have try the impossible and go for three Arcs.
"What a horse, what can you say? It's no burden to say I love her so much. My favourite girl!"
The Italian says that at 49 it will be very hard for him to find another like her.
"People get attached to her, no more than me and Imran (Shawani, groom), who looks after her," he said.
"She has got this amazing presence and these massive, big ears.
"She walks with her chest sticking out and you can see it -– she gives those vibes to everyone and people are attached to her for that reason.
"I get the privilege to ride her and the public are actually riding with me. We really need to cherish these special horses."
Gosden too says great horses like Enable -- who has accrued over £10million ($12.8 million) in prizemoney with 11 of her 14 wins in Group One races -- gives racing a rare chance to extend its appeal outside the sport.
"Horses like her are incredibly important to our game," said the 69-year-old Englishman, who will give her one more race at York in August prior to the Arc.
"She is very popular worldwide, I have friends in America and Australia all watching the race."
The bond between Dettori and Enable extends far beyond turning up at the racecourse to ride her.
"I love her so much," said Dettori.
"She has taken me to emotional heights no other horse has.
"She is the only horse I ride from the yard; I spoil her with Polos (a brand of mint sweets).
"I don't know whether she really recognises me or not, but she eats them no matter what. I've become friends with her.
"If she showed any sign of weakness, the Arc would be a non-runner, but she has showed that she is still very competitive."
Gosden gives the impression of being unflappable but even he admits training a horse like Enable brings great pressure.
"I find the responsibility quite enormous and it weighs heavy, but what a pleasure to be around a race mare like that," he said.
"The great thing is you can wear these face masks (due to COVID-19 social distancing rules) so no one can see the torture in your face, you are hidden!
"All they can see is your eyes -– as long as you don't start crying they won't realise that you are wound up like a ten-day clock."
© 2020 AFP