horse racing

Godolphin strikes gold at Royal Ascot

Colour Vision and Opinion Poll record a famous 1-2 in Gold Cup race

By Leslie Wilson Jr, Racing & Special Features Writer
00:00 June 22, 2012

Dubai: After drawing a blank for two days at Royal Ascot, Godolphin bounced back in typical style to clinch a sensational one-two finish in the Gold Cup (Group 1), Britain’s most prestigious event for stayers.

Colour Vision, third in this 4,000 metre contest 12 months ago, held off stable-companion Opinion Poll, the runner-up on that occasion, to win by half a length.

Frankie Dettori, the most successful jockey at Ascot, delivered a vintage performance aboard the French-bred colt to vindicate his decision to switch rides with his Godolphin colleague Mickael Barzalona, who was aboard Opinion Poll.

Colour Vision also provided long-serving Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour with a magical fifth Ascot Gold Cup following victory with Classic Cliché (1996), the brilliant Kayf Tara (1998 and 2000) and Papineau (2004).

However, the race was not without incident as head-on television replays showed that Dettori’s mount twice bumped Opinion Poll in the closing stages, necessitating a steward’s inquiry. But, after listening to Dettori’s account of the race, the Ascot stewards let the placings remain.

Ante-post favourite Fame And Glory failed to find the acceleration which saw him win this race last season and had to settle for fourth place behind the front-running Gulf Of Naples, ridden by Godolphin pilot Silvestre de Sousa.

Gulf of Naples raced in the colours of Princess Haya Bin Hussain, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who is the founder and inspiration behind Godolphin.

Dettori rode a perfectly judged race aboard Colour Vision, settling the 6-1 chance on the slipstream of Gulf of Naples for the majority of the two-and-a-half-mile tip, and found another gear in his mount in the straight to take the lead. Opinion Poll came from the middle of the pack with a big run, but just failed to rein in the leader.

Earlier, Princess Highway ran out an impressive winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes while Reckless Abandon won the Norfolk Stakes.