Few will disagree, this hasn’t been a golden flat season for racing in the UK. Too few star performances. Too many late in the day non runners.
But Golden Horn has been a success story. And jockey Frankie Dettori the comeback kid.
The pair combined to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris. There was to be no third successive win in the race for Treve, a true champ retired after coming fourth this year.
I confess I was not convinced Golden Horn was a world beater. I had my doubts about the quality of what Golden Horn had already beaten on UK soil this past flat season. On Sunday morning I was tempted by the 7/1 on offer for him to win the big race, but I did not oppose the favourite, Treve.
I could envisage the story of the day being success for jockey Frankie Dettori. A victory that caps what has been a glorious comeback season for the likeable Italian, now in his 25th year in the saddle. After his battle with drug abuse, and that personally humiliating racing ban, Frankie has rebuilt his career and I am delighted he has done so.
Golden Horn had a bad draw, but a great jockey who gave him a perfect ride.
Dettori has bounced back with a little help from his friends. Not least the gentleman trainer John Gosden. Golden Horn was his first horse to win this prestigious race.
Gosden said: “I’ve been waiting for this. Nathaniel was unlucky (in 2012). Quite frankly it’s just great.
“Frankie rode a gem of a race. When he was sitting a length behind the pacemaker and going nicely, I thought, this is where I want to be.
“He switched off behind the pacemaker and I knew that in the straight, he would kick relatively early. He said, the problem with the Arc is that they come at your back with arrows, and he was aware a few arrows were coming.”
Dettori knew he was aboard the winner. He said: “At 300 metres to go he showed a turn of foot that really blew me away. I thought there’s no horse in the world that can pass me now and from the 200 to the winning post I was just enjoying myself.
“Longchamp can be very tricky. I thought, we know he stays and we know he’s good, so I said to John, the plan is to stay wide and not get too keen. It worked out exactly like I thought it would and then he just flew and it was all over. Today you saw the real Golden Horn.”
Watch the race here