They were expectant. They were vociferous. Their support and well wishes overwhelmed John Gosden, Frankie Dettori, Prince Khalid and Teddy Grimthorpe. Ultimately though for the watching horse racing fraternity, there was anguish as Queen of the Turf Enable hit the front in her bid for an unprecedented third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victory only to be bypassed by Waldgeist close home.
Fabre Shoots Bambi to Land 8th Success
For brilliant trainer Andre Fabre it was an eighth Arc de Triomphe win as a trainer and emotions were quite rightly high as his improving five-year-old got to Enable after Frankie had committed for home before stretching on near the line to score by 1¾ lengths.
This came moments after Fabre had been asked in a TV interview how to beat Enable, and after replying that he didn’t know he simply said “I don’t want to shoot Bambi!” Shoot her he did though.
For her part and especially the parts of her excellent team, Enable lost nothing in defeat reputationally after landing ten Group 1 wins in her career and being beaten now for only the second ever time.
Gosden was at pains pre-race to say the ground was his only worry, that it was genuinely heavy ground and that it would blunt her turn of foot at the crucial point of the race at which she so often puts the contest to bed, and indeed that prophecy came tragically true.
It appears in the end that the wonderful daughter of Nathaniel was ultimately outstayed on ground more testing than ideal and it leaves us wondering whether we will see her again.
Plans Remain Fluid for Stable Star
When asked about future plans for Enable, both John Gosden and Teddy Grimthorpe, Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Racing Manager, said that only the Prince himself will decide and that nobody knows yet whether we will see her in action again.
Should she be retired now, ending her career with a defeat does not diminish at all her reputation or her value as a broodmare one bit, but should she come home safe and sound and full of beans there remains the possibility of her going back to the States for a second crack at the Breeders’ Cup.
Last year, having had a light season, she was allowed to head off to Churchill Downs to contest the Breeders’ Cup Turf and duly became the first horse ever to achieve the Arc/Breeders’ Cup double.
Should she travel to Santa Anita on November 2 and be beaten again, she still bows out as one of the all-time greats but she also has the possibility of finishing on a massive high.
Enable would be entitled to contest the Filly & Mare Turf and the Turf but in seeing her outstayed at this stage of her career and remembering how good she was in the Eclipse this season when stepping back to 1m2f for the first time since her second start, the $6million Classic could be the one for her.
After favourite McKinzie’s defeat and the defection of Thunder Snow due to fitness worries, the Classic is wide open and with Frankie’s racing brain dictating things up top she could add another very different, very valuable win to her enviable CV yet.