“He’s probably the best horse that I’ve ridden,” declared jockey Frankie Dettori after Golden Horn took the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe yesterday (Sunday 4 October).
Popular mare Treve was going for a historic third win in the Paris race, but it was the John Gosden-trained Derby winner that triumphed at Longchamp.
The son of Cape Cross won by two lengths to Flintshire, who was also second in the race last year. A neck back was New Bay, with Treve just a nose behind in fourth.
It was Golden Horn’s fourth Group One win of the year — following success at Epsom, then in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and finally in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
He has won seven from eight starts, only finishing second once in the Juddmonte at York.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, the pair raced wide of the field for the first furlong, before settling and pulling clear to win by two lengths.
”My tactics were good but his performance was unbelievable,” said Frankie.
“Today you saw the real Golden Horn. He put to bed a great Arc field like a true champion. Over the last furlong and a half it would have been impossible for any horse to get near me.
“I pressed the button and he flew. Think of the horses he has beaten and beaten well. I spent the last furlong enjoying myself. He has given me some tremendous pleasure and is probably the best horse that I’ve ridden.”
Frankie now shares the record for a jockey winning the race for the fourth time with six others. His other wins came aboard Lammtarra, Sakhee and Marienbard.
Owner and breeder Anthony Oppenheimer is now considering one final race at the Breeders’ Cup in Keeneland, before Golden Horn takes up his stud duties at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.
Last year Treve became the first dual winner of the world’s richest turf race since Alleged in 1977/78. The win also escalated her to Europe’s highest-earning mare.
Treve was retired after the 2014 race, however, owned Sheikh Joaan al Thani decided to go for a third attempt at the Arc.
The five-year-old, by Motivator, has now been retired to stud.
Trainer Criquette Head-said: “There is no disgrace in being beaten by Golden Horn. He was the Derby winner and there are no excuses.
“She deserves to go to stud and enjoy herself now. She has been unforgettable.”
For full report don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H, out Thursday 8 October.