Frankie Dettori pays tribute to Enable as he sets Arc record

He was desperate to play it down, but Frankie Dettori was kidding no-one.

Winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for an unprecedented fifth time meant little in the grand scheme of things, he argued.

The job needed doing. It was all about business.

Yet for all the straight-laced deflection, it is mightily difficult to believe that the jockey had not been thinking about this day ever since Enable slalomed into the Arc reckoning after winning the Oaks in June.

Dettori has few peers in the weighing room, but even fewer jockeys can come close to matching his burning ambition.

Combine those two priceless commodities and great things happen.

More often than not for Dettori, greatness has happened on the big occasion.

And now he is out on his own on the biggest occasion of them all in European Flat racing.

Yes, Enable was seemingly bulletproof, but things can go wrong at Chantilly, which is an entirely different test for jockey and horse compared to the Arc’s natural home of Longchamp.

But Dettori, who was, astonishingly, riding in his 29th Arc, happily had things under control from pillar to post.

Faced with a challenging conundrum from stall two, the 46-year-old quickly shuffled across and into a prominent pitch behind the freewheeling Idaho and stablemate Order Of St George.

Dettori’s early sense of awareness, as trainer John Gosden was at pains to point out, was “the critical moment”.

Just as she had done all summer, Enable cranked up the revs within a heartbeat and skipped into the lead inside the final two furlongs.

That potent turn of foot, for which she is now renowned, then kicked in as the daughter of Nathaniel charged two and a half lengths clear of Cloth Of Stars at the line.

“I’ve had 29 goes at it, so five is not that great a strike-rate,” joked Dettori.

“I’m the first one to get to five and it’s a great achievement – it’s amazing and very special.

“I’m very proud of this. It hasn’t sunk in yet and I’m now looking forward to having a nice glass of something.”

When he does find a quiet moment to celebrate, he will again toast the horse responsible for reaching such a significant landmark in his career.

Enable has now won five Group Ones on the bounce and also became the first British-trained filly to ever claim the great race.

Little wonder there was a quiet sense of joy once her trainer announced the possibility of her staying in training and doing it all over again when the Arc returns to Longchamp next autumn.

Such a tantalising prospect will no doubt go down particularly well in the Dettori household.

“She’s the best filly I’ve ridden,” he added.

“I said to John last week she is the best she has ever been. To keep this filly at 100 per cent all year is fantastic.

“She’s amazing and is an absolute freak. I love her.”

Dettori is not the only one.