Both for the team back at Mr Gosden’s yard and for me as an individual these are the special weekends we work hard for and look forward to.
There’s no question we’re all both nervous and excited, as our star mare Enable steps up to try and write a piece of history by winning Sunday’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, which if successful will make her the first triple winner of Europe’s greatest race; one which for me is definitely its best and most prestigious middle-distance contest.
She’s come a long way since I had the pleasure of riding her on her debut at Newcastle way back in November 2016. We always knew she was good, but what she’s gone on to achieve is beyond any of our wildest dreams, achieving a phenomenal 10 Group and Grade 1’s so far spread across England, Ireland, France and America. In my eyes she’s already one of the all-time greats, but this truly would seal the deal.
I know but deep down the boss will be feeling the pressure as much as any of us, as will Frankie as he builds up to 3.05pm on Sunday, but the thing with him is he also loves the hype and build up and thrives on it. There literally is no better man for this kind of situation, although he joked he was more nervous when he was best man at my wedding!!
Jokes aside, both of them will be comforted by the fact this is a filly who always finds a way to win. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she could do it again and achieve this unique feat?
It’s a massive compliment to her that even in a stable where we’re lucky to have stars like Logician and ‘Mighty Mouse’ Stradivarius amongst others, she’s the Queen and adored by everyone. She certainly won’t lack for support from scores of British and Irish racegoers heading over to France to cheer her on, that’s for sure!
I’ll be travelling across to Paris to watch the Arc and cheer her on myself – quite simply I want to be there.
As for the race itself, Enable is drawn nine of 12 which could have been a lot worse, especially as this is the smallest field since the victory of Dylan Thomas back in 2007.
The biggest dangers appear to be Japan and Ghaiyyath, but I’m confident she can add those scalps to the 43 individual Group 1 winners she’s already taken care of.
Before any of that occurs I’ve a busy day at Newmarket to attend to on Saturday afternoon, riding in all seven races on one of the most significant day’s racing staged at HQ all season.
Fingers crossed I’ve got a couple of great chances, though the itch I’d really like to scratch is winning a Group 1 of my own, something I’ll be trying to achieve when I take the leg-up on Amanda Perrett’s Sea The Stars filly Lavender’s Blue in the Sun Chariot Stakes at 3.25pm.
Way back in early April I used my FansBet blog to explain what a compliment it was to this horse for a trainer as shrewd as Amanda to aim her at a warm Newmarket maiden first time out, rather than start her off somewhere much calmer.
She wasn’t wrong. Lavender’s Blue carried me beautifully through the race and won going away. She comes into this in winning form and has been mixing it with some very smart opposition.
I’ve hit the crossbar a few times at the top level, but I’d love to believe this lady has a great chance in a very hot race. Ideally I’d prefer the rain to stay away as she’s a filly who moves really well and we’ve always been of the opinion a quicker surface was for her.
That said, I’m still sure she would stay a mile and a quarter, so if she gets through the ground and it becomes a test in the closing stages, she could have that up her sleeve.
To win this would be an obvious career highlight. Followed by an Enable win in Paris. Here’s hoping.