Frankie Dettori took charge of the 35th Breeders’ Cup here in Kentucky on Saturday as he completed an exceptional double aboard Enable, the Arc winner, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, having earlier ridden a brilliant race to take the Mile on Expert Eye in the shadow of the post.

The biggest European team ever to travel to a Breeders’ Cup had mixed fortunes over the two days, and the three runners from British and Irish stables in the Classic 40 minutes later had no answer to the stretch run of the favourite, Accelerate. Dettori, though, left Kentucky having won on two of his three rides, demonstrating once again that his hunger and instincts are sharper than ever, nearly a quarter of a century on from his first Breeders’ Cup win, also at Churchill Downs, in 1994.

Enable had to work for the historic success which saw her become the first Arc winner to follow up at the same year’s Breeders’ Cup. Eight had tried and failed before her, including John Gosden’s Golden Horn three years ago, and Enable had to work hard to get past Aidan O’Brien’s Magical in the final furlong as the two fillies pulled clear of their pursuers.

In the end, though, she responded to Dettori’s urging and powered past her rival halfway down the straight, then stayed on strongly all the way to the line. If this proves to have been her final race – and there is no news on that yet – it was a magnificent conclusion to an exceptional career.

Whatever the decision about Enable’s racing future, Saturday’s victory ends a short but hugely successful four-year-old campaign which did not begin until early September as the result of an injury earlier in the year. She has now won nine races in a row, including the Turf, two Arcs, two Classics and the King George at Ascot.

Dettori was drawn towards the rail in stall two but managed to find his way towards the outside of the field where he felt the rain-softened ground was a little better. It was an important move, because while he was forced to come around horses on the home turn, he was able to keep close to Magical as Ryan Moore sent her to the lead at the top of the straight.

“She didn’t break that well and then the pace was on straight away,” Dettori said. “I managed to get out to four off the fence, and then she was moving good again. I was waiting for her to give me the message that she was ready to go, and I could see Magical on my inside.

“Magical took me on pretty early and then it was a punch-up to see who was the best. She went half a length up and I knew she was fighting for me but Ryan was like a wasp that wouldn’t go away. The ground made it hard for her today, but she’s a superstar.”

Teddy Grimthorpe, Prince Khalid’s racing manager, played a straight bat when the question of Enable’s future was raised. A third consecutive win in the Arc next October would be another historic achievement to add to what is already a growing list, but her owner is well known for being as intrigued by breeding as he is by racing.

“I think the most important thing is to sit back and enjoy this,” Grimthorpe said. “We tend to move on far too quickly. The enormity of this, for the whole team, it’s been so emotional. There’s no great hurry.”

Dettori’s 13th win at the Breeders’ Cup had arrived an hour earlier, when Michael Stoute’s Expert Eye finished fast and late in the Mile.

“He broke well but then he took a false step and lost his position and I had to look for a plan B,” Dettori said. “As we got in to the straight, I asked him to pick up and the response wasn’t there for about 100m. I felt we were going to be a good fifth, and then he just managed to find his rhythm and I could see the leaders stopping. In the last 100 yards, he really got down and sprinted home. I went from despair to joy in the space of 100 yards.”

In the final race of the meeting, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Accelerate saw off a three-strong challenge from European stables to give John Sadler his first Breeders’ Cup winner at the 45th attempt.

Ryan Moore sent Aidan O’Brien’s Mendelssohn straight in to the lead and then settled at the head of affairs for the next mile, setting strong fractions as he did so. He was still travelling well enough on the turn for home but his effort petered out as Thunder Snow, from Saeed bin Suroor’s yard in Newmarket, briefly threatened to take a hand.

Accelerate, though, was simply too strong in the stretch and he stayed on bravely for Joel Rosario to beat the outsider Gunnevara with Thunder Snow a creditable third under Christophe Soumillon.

 

 

 

 

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