Enable’s bid to become the first horse to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe for a record third time ended in another heartbreak.
Enable could finish only sixth in a muddling race on the heavy grounds behind Jean-Claude Rouget’s local-trained Sottsass at Longchamp on Sunday.
Cristian Demuro on Sottsass, third in the race 12 months ago, picked up on the final furlong to win from In Swoop and Godolphin’s Persian King.
Enable won Europe’s most prestigious race in 2017 and 2018, and was runner up in 2019, but this time she had to deal with the heavy underfoot conditions as well as the interference when the pace picked up on the home stretch.
But despite her defeat, the six-year-old daughter of Nathaniel with 15 wins in 19 starts, including 11 Group 1 prizes, will go down as one of the great mares to have graced the sport.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Enable's owner Saudi Prince Khalid Abdullah said: “She just wasn't able to go on the ground.
“She's had a good position, but she just couldn't pick up like we'd normally expect her to.
“We'll see how she is when she gets back and talk to John [Gosden, trainer] and Prince Khalid and make a plan. There will be no decisions [on retirement] at this stage.”
Persian King ran a cracker for a horse tackling the mile and-a-half distance for the first time.
Pierre-Charles Boudot, on top of the four-year-old son of Kingman, tried to make all the running but was overhauled by Sottsass and the German Derby victor In Swoop towards the end.
At the same meeting, Godolphin’s Earthlight went down narrowly to One Master in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret.
And elsewhere, Godolphin’s Essential Quality clinched the Breeders’ Futurity on dirt at Keeneland, USA, on Saturday, to take the Dubai racing operation’s Group 1 tally to 15 for the year.
The Brad Cox-trained colt under Luis Saez broke well and raced prominently to come home three and a quarter lengths clear of Keepmeinmind.
“We have been fortunate to have some very nice two-year-old fillies but Essential Quality is probably the best colt that I have had as far as talent goes,” Cox said.
“He is our first Group 1 winner as a two-year-old colt, so he means a lot to us. He has shown us from day one that he is special.
“He is very talented and Luis did a good job in getting him to relax. He is a very green horse and that was my concern – whether he could put it all together and he did.
“He pulled up a bit on the backside and has some learning to do but, if he can figure it out, he is going to be a serious animal.”