Philosophical Gosden takes Enable's Arc defeat in his stride

Paris (AFP) –


John Gosden took Enable's falling short of winning an historic third Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe philosophically saying "if you can't take your punches then you should not be in this game."

The 69-year-old English trainer did not travel to France -- due to having to quarantine when he returned because of coronavirus protocols -- as his six-year-old star finished sixth behind Sottsass.

It was the first time in her 19 race career the 11-time Group One winner had finished outside the first three.

Gosden said a mix of the testing ground at ParisLongchanp -- due to incessant rain during the week -- and a slow pace set by Persian King had done for her chances.

Gosden said the dramatic decision by Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien to withdraw his four runners late on Saturday because of positive dope tests due to probably contaminated feed killed any hopes of a fast pace.

"Obviously we knew once the Ballydoyle horses came out the whole race changed," said Gosden by phone from his home at Newmarket.

"We were concerned about there being no pace.

"Both Enable being a 1 1/2 mile horse and Stradivarius (his three-time Gold Cup winner who finished seventh) needed a fast pace.

"I am very pleased for Jean-Claude (Rouget the winning trainer).

"The lack of pace and the ground did for her but that is life.

"It was the same for everyone.

"Full marks to those who finished in the first three."

- 'She was flat' -

Gosden, though, said whether she raced again or not would be decided by her owner Saudi Prince Khalid Abdullah.

"For me the most important thing is they tell me (his assistant trainer and son Thady represented him in France) she came back fine," said Gosden.

"Maybe we should have got the job done last year (she finished second).

"It was very sporting of Prince Khalid to keep her in training this year and look we won an historic third King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes which is our (England's) Arc."

Enable's jockey Frankie Dettori waved to the 1000 spectators -- who were permitted under coronavirus protocols to attend -- on his way back on Enable to the unsaddling enclosure.

However, the 49-year-old Italian said he knew the game was up when he asked the horse he calls "my favourite girl" to move up a gear.

"She was flat," he said.

"When I pressed the button at the same stage as to when she won her previous two Arcs (2017/18) there was nothing there.

"Forgive me I am a bit emotional at the moment."

Prince Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said there were no regrets at keeping her going at six.

"She is happy, she retains her enthusiasm and her routine," said Grimthorpe.

"She loves Frankie and he loves her and they have a fantastic relationship.

"From those points of view it has been a huge bonus the whole thing.

"Three King George's, two Arcs, an Eclipse, an Epsom Oaks, an Irish Oaks oaks and a Yorkshire Oaks.

"That is an extraordinary CV for any racehorse.

"She has been a joy."