Frankie Dettori hailed Enable as “the queen of racing” and the best horse he has ridden in his long career after she made a winning return to action in the Eclipse Stakes. Having her first run for eight months and tackling a shorter distance than usual, the mare seemed to have a fight on her hands as her rivals fanned out to attack in the home straight but she was too good.

Remarkably she is only the third female to win the Eclipse, which has been going since 1886, and the first since Kooyonga in 1992. Available at even-money in the morning as pundits hummed and hawed about the challenge facing her, she was backed down to 4-6 by the betting public and will now be a hot favourite for the King George at Ascot in three weeks’ time.

“I’m as ecstatic as when I won my first race on her,” said Dettori. “She’s a superstar, her CV is unbelievable now with the Eclipse on it as well.”

Asked if she was the best he had ridden, the Italian replied: “Yes, I would say so. I mean, her CV is the best. You can have arguments about, maybe Golden Horn was better. Her longevity has been incredible. I never stop getting excited when I ride her in the morning. She’s very special. I really love her.”

The obvious risk for a mile-and-a-half horse in a 10-furlong race is getting outpaced by a rival with more speed in the closing stages, a threat Dettori countered by having Enable prominent from an early stage. But he denied having entertained real doubts on that score.

“Do you see the way she travels? I was the last one off the bridle. She’s got so many gears and the unbelievable will to win. She’s got everything. Not many horses can travel like that.”

At the line Enable had three-quarters of a length in hand over Aidan O’Brien’s Magical, the same result as when they met in the Breeders’ Cup in November. The US race was evidently on the mind of her trainer, John Gosden, who referred to O’Brien’s pacemaker, Hunting Horn, as “a friend to us, this time” as he set a sound, even pace. In America Gosden had not been pleased to see Hunting Horn tracking Enable throughout and eventually carrying her wide into the straight.

“It’s testament to her,” Gosden said, “because it’s not easy, like a boxer who’s been off for a long time, getting back in the gym and working out, tightening up. I’m looking around, I see a lot of us have been too lazy to do that.

“You ask any of those tennis players; you’ve got to get back into that mental zone and she just suddenly came back into it in the last two weeks. It was very apparent in the way she was carrying herself, her behaviour. If you go in her box, that’s her space. Don’t mess in there or she’ll split you in two.”

 

 

 

 

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