An emotional Frankie Dettori said he had cried when the decision was finally taken to bring down the curtain on the extraordinary racing career of Enable, whose retirement was announced on Monday morning.
A sopping wet surface at Longchamp last week killed off her chance of an unprecedented third success in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but she is the only horse to have achieved three wins in Ascot’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and Dettori was aboard for all but the first of her 15 victories.
“I did cry last night,” the 49-year-old jockey said. “It was a bit of an emotional moment because we were still thinking about rolling the dice one more time. So it was a blow.”
Although the Arc was widely expected to be Enable’s final outing, she still held entries for races at Champions’ Day this Saturday. Hopes that she might have a final run in England were sustained when she was spotted on the Newmarket gallops last week.
“I had to emotionally accept it,” Dettori said. “But I woke up this morning, I was fine. Now that I know that she’s safe and she’s gone, I’m able to slowly be touched by emotions and just look at the wider picture. She’s done so brilliant for all of us and I love her. I’m never going to forget her. I went to see her this morning. We had a tremendous journey for three and a-half, four years. She was the horse that most touched my heart.”
Asked to pinpoint the memory that would stand out most in his mind in the years to come, Dettori picked Enable’s win in last year’s King George, when she prevailed by a neck over Crystal Ocean, who had been a winner under Dettori at Royal Ascot the previous month. “What a race, the line-up of horses … The Arc winner, Waldgeist, Derby winners.
“They were all in there and Crystal Ocean was a proper horse and we had some duel. She had every opportunity to throw in the towel but she didn’t. What a wonderful mare she is, so strong. I guess the best performance would be the first Arc. Never at any stage I thought was she going to get beat. And the Oaks. So many great performances, I’ll cherish all of them. She owes nobody anything. She’s been a superstar.”
Enable will now be moved to her owner’s stud to be covered by Kingman, a standout miler in 2014. Dettori was cheered by a suggestion that he might one day be riding her foals in races. Laughing, he said: “Is that a dangling carrot to keep me going?”