Enable continued her winning streak with another brilliant performance in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York on Thursday.
Quickly out of the stalls on the final start of her career in Britain, the John Gosden-trained mare repeated her victory in this race from 2017 in emphatic fashion.
Frankie Dettori was comfortable at the head of affairs when he asked the Khalid Abdullah-owned five-year-old for her effort in the straight, and saw off old adversary Magical after the very briefest of tussles to win by two and three-quarter lengths.
Enable (1/4 favourite) will now attempt to lift the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for an unprecedented third successive year at ParisLongchamp in October.
Dettori, who has surely never had things so good, could not hide his emotions afterwards.
“It’s embarrassing crying on TV, but I was crying with happiness!” he said. “She felt great and she’s had a great send-off in front of the English people.
“I was always in control today. The temptation in the past on her has always been to kick a bit too soon – but today I thought I’d let Ryan (Moore, on Magical) come to me before I kicked. When I gave her a little tap she put her head down, and I knew then I’d won. Magical is no slouch – but she is absolutely amazing, tremendous.
“In fairness we wanted an exercise canter. But Magical made a race of it, because she’s very solid – and if you gauge her performance through Magical it was amazing.
“This year we’ve had a better preparation for the Arc. But we’ve still got seven weeks, so it will be sleepless nights until then.
“It’s amazing, because she had a hard race in the King George and she was a bit tense today because of the crowd, but in the race she was fantastic. She’s uncomplicated – she has a great presence and a massive engine. I love her.
“I’ve never ridden a horse like her in my life. To have her longevity is incredible. Golden Horn was a great horse – but I only had him for a year.”
For Gosden, the race could not have gone better – with Dettori choosing to make all the running.
“We discussed it – she was drawn one, and there was no point complicating it and disappointing her. We should let her go and do her own thing,” he said.
“Magical came to her, but she found a lot in the last 400 metres. To that extent she showed her class and it was a good performance.
“She’s not a filly that likes to be let all the way down, so between the King George and the Arc was too big a gap. She prefers to be let down a little and then brought back up for a race.”
He added: “This was a nice stepping stone to the Arc. But I’m very aware of the three-year-old colts – we saw a nice one win here yesterday in Japan, and Jean-Claude (Rouget) has a nice horse (Sottsass) who won the Prix du Jockey Club – I thought he looked exceptional.
“She’s got tough competition from the three-year-old boys – and there’s always going to be a sneaky three-year-old filly in there, that’s for sure.”
Gosden ruled out taking Enable back to America and a repeat Breeders’ Cup bid, so it appears highly likely ParisLongchamp will be her final outing.
“She’s already won a Breeders’ Cup – to go out there again on fast ground after the Arc, I don’t think that would be fair,” said the trainer.
“Prince Khalid (Abdullah, owner) has always been a huge supporter of the Breeders’ Cup. But I just think that is asking too much – she’s given her all.”
A LOOK AT ENABLE'S CAREER
Low-key debut success
John Gosden gave Enable a low-key debut on the all-weather at Newcastle in November 2016, when she led entering the final furlong and strode away to take a one-mile maiden by three and three-quarter lengths.
Stablemate Shutter scores
A quiet introduction to 2017 saw Enable make late progress to finish third behind stablemate Shutter Speed in a 10-furlong conditions race at Newbury in April.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori for the first time, Enable showed her Classic potential with an impressive victory in the Cheshire Oaks as she swept Aidan O’Brien’s Alluringly aside with the minimum of fuss.
Leading two furlongs out, Enable put her rivals to the sword to run out a facile five-length winner from Rhododendron in the fillies’ Classic at Epsom, which was run in a thunderstorm.
After tracking Bengala, Enable went about her business halfway up the straight and passed the post five and a half-lengths clear of Rain Goddess in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh.
Enable was crowned queen in the King George as she beat the colts and older horses in some style with another breath-taking display at Ascot, dispatching the top-class Ulysses by four and a half- lengths.
Tour de Yorkshire
The Yorkshire Oaks proved another cakewalk as Enable made all the running at York, and won unchallenged by five lengths.
Triumph in L’Arc de Triomphe
On French turf for the first time, the filly travelled at the head of the field throughout before surging clear two furlongs from the post and finding none to stand in the way of her first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victory.
Enable made a late and low-key 2018 debut by effortlessly winning the Group Three September Stakes on Kempton’s all-weather track, leaving all but the high-quality Crystal Ocean out of view.
A return to defend her Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe title, this time held at its rightful home ParisLongchamp, saw Enable claim her hardest-fought win yet as she just edged out the late Sea of Class.
Enable takes America
A trip to the States provided Enable with another overseas win as she surged to a narrow but convincing success in the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs, making her the first ever horse to complete the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup double.
Stepping back to one mile and two furlongs for the first time since her turf debut defeat, Enable proved a lesser trip was no barrier to her success as she claimed the Coral Eclipse at Sandown.
The queen still reigns
Enable retained her King George title at Ascot after an epic shoulder-to-shoulder battle with Crystal Ocean, over whom she eventually prevailed by just a neck.
The perfect farewell
Enable penned her own British valedictory with an all-the-way victory as she took the Darley Yorkshire Oaks for the second time, and extended her winning run to 12 and overall tally to 13 out of 14. Old rival Magical was again her victim, beaten two and three-quarter lengths this time.