Enable denied Arc de Triomphe hat trick by Waldgeist
PARIS (AP) — Enable had to make do with the runner-up spot in her bid for history and a third victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday as Waldgeist provided Andre Fabre with a record eighth success.
All eyes were on John Gosden’s brilliant mare Enable, ridden by Frankie Dettori, which appeared to be set for an unprecedented third success in the showpiece race after mastering three-year-old challengers Sottsass and Japan.
But Waldgeist stayed on past all three to prevail for trainer Fabre, jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot — and France.
“She (Enable) ran an absolutely brilliant race,” Gosden said. “Waldgeist came late and strong — it was a good pace up there.
“Frankie committed, and went for it, and just the last part, in the ground testing her, it’s hard to show that explosive turn of foot, and Waldgeist has outstayed her on the ground. Full marks to Andre.”
Having stretched her Group One tally to 10 with victories in the Coral-Eclipse, the King George and the Yorkshire Oaks this season, all eyes were on Enable as she aimed to become the first three-time winner of Europe’s premier middle-distance contest.
Dettori had to niggle the 4-6 favorite along during the early stages, but she was back on the bridle at the top of the home straight and looked well positioned to race into the record books.
Once asked to quicken, Enable did manage to pull clear, and the packed grandstands in Paris roared in expectation.
However, her stride began to shorten in the final furlong on the testing ground and she was unable to resist the fast-finishing 16-1 shot Waldgeist — fourth in last year’s renewal and beaten by Enable on each of the three previous occasions they had met.
“I’m very proud that Waldgeist managed to beat such a fantastic mare, it’s well deserved in some ways,” Fabre said. “What can I say? I’m delighted.”