Article Date: 21-June-2012
After a far from vintage season, Frankie Dettori was back to his exuberant self when winning the Gold Cup aboard Godolphin’s Colour Vision on a rain-sodden Thursday at Royal Ascot.
The race had a controversial finish, Dettori's mount bumping runner-up Opinion Poll twice in the closing stages and only half a length separated them at the line.
Both the first two home are owned by Godolphin and Mikael Barzalona, rider of the runner-up, barely said a word to the stewards at the subsequent enquiry (which was televised) and it was no surprise when the placings were left unchanged.
Minutes earlier Dettori had treated the crowd to his tradtional flying dismount.
The jockey had picked Colour Vision over Opinion Poll and looked especially pleased to have bagged such a high profile win.
Winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “Colour Vision had improved a lot since he won last time [at Kempton in May]. We’d looked after him well and this was going to be his day, we thought that two and a half miles would be ideal for him.
“He’s a very straightforward individual, never fusses or sweats or pulls, so however the race was run he would be fine. As it turned out it was slow to start with, but for a stayer he has a bit of a turn of foot and he was able to deal with the challengers, and as well as that he is a good fighter.”
Colour Vision was bin Suroor’s first British Group 1 winner since Poet’s Voice took the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in September, 2010. “You have to be patient,” he smiled, “this is a very tough game.”
Colour Vision was the fourth top-level success of the year for the Godolphin operation, after Monterosso’s Dubai World Cup and Capponi’s Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan and It’s Tricky in the Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park.
“These banner races round the world are what we want to win,” said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford, “and the Gold Cup is the cream of the cream.
“It’s one of the highlights of the year and we’re all thrilled to have the one-two. I don’t think at any time Frankie was going to get beaten, especially when he saw Barzalona coming upsides him. Whether it gave him extra strength I don’t know but it was a tremendous finish.
“And I take my hat off to the British Horseracing Authority handicappers. They had Colour Vision 1lb higher than Opinion Poll, and after two and a half miles that was spot on.
“Sheikh Mohammed gave Frankie the choice two days ago and went for the Rainbow Quest horse because he thought he’d stay better. He’s better on faster ground and when it rained that could have negated his chances a bit but he handled it well. Frankie phoned the clerk of the course to check on the ground this morning but there was never a chance he could switch. He was given the choice, he made his judgement call and that was it. Whichever horse won it was great for Godolphin and with Frankie choosing the winner it was extra special for him.”
Dettori said: "We have a great team and it’s a brilliant result for us. It’s a joy to win. Me and Mickael (Barzalona, who rode Opinion Poll) are great friends, but you are by yourself when you are out there and you want to win for yourself. It doesn’t matter who is in the finish as you always try to win. This race is gone, I have to do it in the next now.”
John Oxx, who trained third-placed Saddler’s Rock, could not hide his frustration after his horse finished just a neck behind the runner-up. He said: “It was a bit of a farce of a race from his point of view. Obviously if you win it’s not a problem, but he’s normally so relaxed and yet they went so slow he was just tugging the whole way and would not drop the bit.
“I don’t have a pacemaker to run for him - or should I say the owner [Michael O’Flynn] doesn’t have one, unless he chooses to run China Rock [his three-mile chaser], and I think Mouse Morris might have something to say about that!
"We tried to set the pace with this horse [Saddler’s Rock] last year at the Curragh and he didn’t do a great job, but maybe with a bit more experience he would be better so we might try that again.
“He pulled for a mile and then it was a sprint, and since he prefers good to firm ground, not good to soft, he could do no more than stay on and finish very well. He’s very genuine, but it’s a pity that everything that could go against him today did so.
“He’s brave and tough. He’ll run in all the Cup races, starting with the Goodwood Cup, and we’ll take it from there. The Prix du Cadran and the stayers’ race back here in October are also possible."
Fame and Glory, who was sent of as 4/5 favourite to repeat last year’s success in the Gold Cup, could only manage seventh.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien said afterwards: “He has come back fine and seems to be fine after the race. It was an interesting race.”
Jamie Spencer, who partnered Fame And Glory, added: “It just wasn’t to be.”
Read Ian Carnaby's Royal Ascot reports in The Irish Field on Saturday. Online from 10.30pm on Friday
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