By Andrew Atkinson
Wonderhorse Enable gained a photo finish victory under Frankie Dettori in winning the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes Group 1 at Ascot, ahead of Crystal Ocean, in a thrilling race.
“Enable is extraordinary. I love her – she’s special – and gives me emotion that no other horse has given me in my life,” said Dettori, having bagged a £780,000 winner’s purse.
“You will probably only see her two more times, at York and the Arc, so let’s enjoy her. She’s a superstar,” said Dettori.
John Gosden trained Enable got the better of Crystal Ocean, ridden by James Doyle, as the pair went nip and tuck on the home straight – to win by a neck.
“It’s the hardest fought Group 1 I’ve had – with two great champions – it doesn’t come every day,” said Dettori.
“There was a lot of guts and she said ‘I’m going to win this race’. So much of this is mental strength in horses – and they showed it,” said Gosden.
Enable, with 11 wins in the locker, is aiming for a third consecutive success in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October: “Maybe we go straight to the Arc, I don’t know,”said Gosden, who also eyes York’s Ebor August meeting, and the International Stakes.
“After five furlongs I thought the only one I’ve got to beat is Crystal Ocean. I’ve got to get on to his tail.
“I made a race of it, and I probably took James Doyle by surprise. He was fighting back – and the gloves were off,” said Dettori.
Italian star Dettori, 48, said: “We had a titanic battle – but I always had the edge.”
Crystal Ocean, conceding a 3lb mares’ allowance to Enable, gave a memorable performance, in what was an unforgettable spectacle, and remains the world’s top rated racehorse.