Excitement over Enable’s attempt at a record 3rd G1 Arc de Triomphe victory

source:  Hong Kong Jockey Club

Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe this Sunday features Enable

The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe is the late-season focal point in Europe but the special frenzy developing around the 2019 race at Longchamp this Sunday (6 October) revolves solely around the outstanding race mare Enable, the raging hot favorite to become the first-ever three-time winner of this 2400m spectacular.

On the side of the 10-time G1 winner will be the unstoppable veteran rider Frankie Dettori who – even without Enable – has been enjoying an amazing year, with big race win after big race win for Enable’s trainer John Gosden.

Extraordinarily on Sunday the 48-year-old will be riding in his 31st Arc. He has won it six times but, while he is saying that he hopes the media fever will lessen nearing the race to allow him to concentrate on successfully getting the job done, he also seems stimulated by all the razzmatazz.

“A win from Enable will mean history and it will make her immortal. That is my inspiration,” he said.

Dettori has very different memories of her Arc wins in 2017 and 2018. At Chantilly in 2017, the pair was always perfectly placed and she skipped clear.

“I enjoyed that one,” he said, beaming.

Last year’s win, back at the race’s traditional home of Longchamp, was a tougher assignment.

“She ran a temperature for a week in the run-up to last year’s Arc, but no one told me!” Dettori said. “Then in the race she went clear and it seemed like deja-vue. But suddenly she stopped and the other horse (Sea Of Class) came at us. When we passed the post I froze for about ten seconds until the relief of realizing that we had still won.”

One assumes that the decision not to tell Dettori about Enable’s problem was deliberate on the part of the tactically masterful Gosden, but the trainer is full of praise for the rider’s expertise of what he considers just about Europe’s most  formidable track, insisting that no one – French-based or English-based – rides it  better than his jockey.

Dettori is coy about this tribute but agrees about the complexities of the great Parisian racecourse.

“It’s a jockey’s track. The race can keep changing and you need about ten different plans,” is how the world-famous rider explained it.

Enable’s achievements haven’t stopped since last October and her narrow victory over the brilliant Crystal Ocean in an incredible stretch battle for Europe’s other great all-age mile and a half race, July’s G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, left Dettori musing: “Yes it was an epic and my good girl got me out of trouble!”

Dettori and many others believe that the biggest threat to five-year-old Enable on Sunday will be the Aidan O’Brien-trained three-year-old Japan. The colt has improved all season, culminating in a thrilling head victory over Crystal Ocean – the highest-rated horse in the world at the time – in the G1 Juddmonte International Stakes (2063m) at York in August.

Weight-for-age dictates that Japan will be getting 3lb from Enable as will the French Derby winner Sottsass, who prepped for this with a win in the Prix Niel (2400m). Imprisoned on the rail, he found room in the nick of time with his sudden acceleration being easily the most exciting sight on trials day at Longchamp last month.

A smaller Arc field than usual is expected, and, though no connections will want to be allocated a wide gate, it is likely to be less of an issue than it has been previously, especially as current predictions suggest that the ground for Europe’s greatest race is expected to be on the soft side.

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Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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