Frankie Dettori was still riding the crest of a wave 24 hours after steering superstar filly Enable to back-to-back victories in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The four-year-old added to her success in last year’s race, which was staged at Chantilly, when holding Sea Of Class in an epic renewal of the Group One contest on its return to its traditional home at ParisLongchamp.
Having had time to reflect on winning Europe’s premier middle-distance prize for the sixth time in his career – on his 30th ride in the race – the 47-year-old remained deeply proud of the filly’s achievement – and full of praise for trainer John Gosden.
He told Press Association Sport: “Yesterday was amazing and I felt numb.
“I didn’t know if I was dreaming or if what happened was actually true, but I’ve watched the replay a hundred times and the great thing is I always win! It was an amazing occasion and a fantastic race.
“I was carrying everyone’s pressure. Most of the people I met wanted Enable to win. Achieving this great feat is a hard thing to do.”
Like those watching in the stands, the three-time champion jockey thought victory was going to be nearer the two-and-a-half-length margin Enable posted 12 months ago, rather than the final distance of a short neck.
He added: “When I kicked with 300 yards to go and got three lengths on the field, I thought, ‘we’ve got this in the bag’.
“I went from being excited to having a massive panic. When the petrol started running out and she was getting tired, I thought for a moment, ‘this is not fun anymore’.
“When I crossed the line I didn’t know what to feel. It just felt surreal. Since she crossed the line in last year’s Arc, the plan was always to defend her title.”
The riding plaudits and headlines may have gone the way of Dettori – but he believes the success was all down to the expertise of her Newmarket handler, whose charge had run once since last year’s victory.
He said: “John Gosden is an amazing trainer and to do what he did with this filly to win the Arc again was brilliant.
“The build up didn’t go our way, but the Arc was still the target all along and John Gosden should take all the credit for that.
“Every Arc is special in its own way. I don’t want to single this one out, but it was a thrilling achievement.”
The six-time Group One winner could be sent on her travels again in a bid to register a seventh top-level success, with a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs on November 3 under consideration.
Dettori said: “The Breeders’ Cup I think is the plan. John and Prince Khalid (Abdullah) will have to make a decision, but they will let the dust settle first.
“I love the filly and she has given me a great thrill tackling and winning some of the best races in the world. She has got a special place inside me.”