By Andy Stephens
Frankie Dettori is hoping slim pickings on the dinner table will be rewarded with victory aboard Enable in what looks increasingly a mouthwatering renewal of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The filly’s age and sex allowance means she only has 8st 7lb to carry in the £1.15 million QIPCO-sponsored showpiece and that is as light as her 46-year-old jockey rides at these days.
“It’s my bare minimum, so I need to keep my weight down,” said Dettori, who added he is fully recovered from the broken shoulder he suffered last month. “My diet is all boring stuff at the moment – white fish, vegetables and water. It’s grim.”
Enable is a top-priced 11-8 with Sky Bet after connections confirmed on Wednesday morning that she would try and become only the third filly to complete the Oaks/King George double.
She followed up her emphatic win at Epsom in runaway style in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh.
That latter success was only 11 days ago and some have questioned whether Ascot will come too soon for the daughter of Nathaniel but Dettori is unperturbed after she exhibited her well being to him on Tuesday.
“I rode Enable yesterday morning and believe it or not she dumped me on the floor,” he said in his blog for Ladbrokes. “I was like, “thanks very much!” Luckily, I fell standing up but she still dumped me. She is just full of herself right now and raring to go.
Dettori celebrates winning the Irish Oaks on Enable
“She was the reason I came back from injury so early [from injury]. She really is special. I pushed myself so I could ride her in Ireland and it was worth it.
“The King George is a tough race but I’m really excited. She’s getting a big weight allowance so she’s entitled to be head of the market.”
Dettori reckons six-time Group One winner Highland Reel, seeking to become the third back-to-back winner of the King George, will be the main danger.
He said: “Highland Reel is obviously the biggest danger to our chances. He ran very well at Ascot before and we know he stays. He’s just got a great CV.
“I suspect the ground will be on the right side of good. The pedigree [of Enable] suggests the ground shouldn’t be any issue. I’d never tried her on soft ground until this morning. It was only a small breeze but she seemed to handle it. We shall find out on Saturday.”
Dettori is seeking a fifth success in the King George and says his victory aboard Lammtarra in 1995 remains one of the highlights of his decorated career.
“I was only a kid and the only super rides when I was in Italy were the Derby, Arc and King George,” he said. “Landing my maiden King George was just amazing. We really had to fight for it as well. We’d come into the straight, I hit the front, and then Pentire came up the side. It was a right battle but Lammtarra just stuck his neck out and showed what a great champion he was.”
Dettori salues victory on Big Orange at Sandown in May
Next week, Dettori is hoping to start the Qatar Goodwood Festival with a bang by guiding Big Orange to a historic third successive win in the Goodwood Cup.
“He’s everybody’s favourite,” Dettori said. “After all, he’s won two Goodwood Cups. The key with him is the weather. He needs dry weather. I really hope we don’t get those summer showers to spoil it. Apart from that, he is a horse who wears his heart on his sleeve and tries like hell.”
Dettori has still yet to choose between Shutter Speed and So Mi Dar in the Qatar Nassau Stakes.
“John Gosden and I will make a decision in the week but at this moment it’s very hard to pick,” he said. “I’m keeping my options open. Obviously So Mi Dar has had a long layoff, whereas Shutter Speed is up to scratch and you know how good she is.”