Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA
Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA

Jockey Frankie Dettori gave Enable a gallop over a mile at Newmarket last Saturday and on dismounting  told reporters: “I’m happy, I’m not nervous — yet.”                   

The world’s best-known rider, who turns 50 in December, wants only one gift in 2020 and that is victory in Sunday’s Prix de L’Arc De Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris.

It is the mare’s fourth appearance in Europe’s richest race and she bids to become the first horse to win it three times.

Dettori added: “Arcs are no gimmes. You’ve got to take on the world’s best and I think John Gosden has her the best she can be — so we just need a bit of luck.”

After the gallop, trainer Gosden said: “All is well with Enable this morning. She only breezed around the round gallop with a lead horse and no questions were asked by Mr Dettori. The ground was perfect and it was ideal for her. We just need to get through the week, but now it’s all systems go.” 

Racing fans have been debating for months whether Enable can beat Aidan O’Brien’s filly Love, who is half her age.

Love has been the ante-post favourite for the past month, but the picture changed dramatically on Tuesday with rain — unlikely to suit O’Brien’s filly — in the French capital. Paddy Power quoted Enable at 6-4 with Love pushed out to 11-4.

Gosden confirmed that Enable’s stablemate Stradivarius would take his place in the Arc line-up with top French jockey Olivier Peslier engaged for the champion stayer.

“We have decided to book Olivier Peslier for the ride. Obviously, his course knowledge is second to none and we think he’s the right fit for the horse,” said Gosden.

Peslier said he was excited at the prospect of partnering Stradivarius for the first time.

“I think he will be very good in the Arc as there’s a lot of rain in Paris and that will be a big help for him. I watched him last time at Longchamp, he’s a strong horse who just gallops.

“John Gosden is a champion trainer and I know the horse will be 100% in the Arc,” said Peslier, who has won the Arc four times. His victories have come on Helissio (1996), Peintre Celebre (1997), Sagamix (1998) and Solemia (2012).

Three UK-based jockeys — Dettori, Ryan Moore and Oisin Murphy — will have to quarantine for eight days on their return from France. Efforts are being made to get that restriction relaxed like the dispensation given to professional footballers.

With the going at Longchamp likely to be heavy, punters will be examining the chances of long shots who like soft going and could spring a surprise.

A quintet of horses which revel in soft conditions are Telecaster, Japan, Sovereign, New York Girl and Persian King. Of this group, French-trained Persian King boasts the best form at group 1 level and is unbeaten in three visits to Longchamp.

Last time out, the André Fabre inmate won the Prix du Moulin in which he beat three talented rivals in Pinatubo, Circus Maximus and Siskin. The one worry for Persian King’s backers is that he has never raced beyond 10 furlongs and Sunday’s race is over 12.


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