Royal Ascot: Frankie Dettori hits gold with Colour Vision

Anyone doubting Frankie Dettori’s appetite for more big-race glory was left in no doubt of the Italian’s hunger as he gave Colour Vision a power-packed ride to lift the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

The pair saw off fellow Godolphin runner Opinion Poll, ridden by rising star Mickael Barzalona, and survived a stewards’ inquiry after the two horses came close together in the finish. Dettori had to choose between Colour Vision and Opinion Poll earlier this week and many saw it as a surprise when he sided with Saeed bin Suroor’s charge.

Dettori settled the 6-1 chance on the heels of the leaders for much of the two-and-a-half-mile journey and quickened up well in the straight to take the lead. Opinion Poll came from further back with a big challenge but Colour Vision held on by half a length. Although the stewards immediately called an inquiry, the placings remained unaltered.

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The hot favourite for the Group One feature was last year’s winner, Fame And Glory. But, while Aidan O’Brien’s odds-on shot travelled nicely into the straight, he could not pick up from further back and was well beaten.

Colour Vision had made an impressive debut for Bin Suroor in the rearranged Sagaro Stakes on the all-weather at Kempton, and Dettori clearly felt he was open to more progress than Opinion Poll, who was second in the race 12 months ago. A further neck away from the Godolphin duo in third was the John Oxx-trained Saddler’s Rock.

Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Godolphin operation, was delighted to claim a one-two. He said: “Whatever happened, they are two very good horses that finished first and second and that’s a good thing. You have to wait a year to prepare your horse to come here and even the second horse ran a great race.” Of Dettori and Barzalona, he said: “They are two good jockeys. Frankie is great and Mickael is coming up this year.”

Dettori, subject of much speculation in recent weeks with the big rides now shared around the Godolphin team, was clearly delighted, punching the air after crossing the line. He said: “It was great. This was my best chance of the week. I had to make a very hard decision (to ride Colour Vision over Opinion Poll). They are both great horses and warriors and I finished up the best, but only by a short margin. I’m delighted for the team and myself. It’s been a very hard week and I’m glad this one came up.”

Much has been made of Barzalona’s rise to prominence with Godolphin. However, Dettori insisted there was no extra joy in beating his fellow Godolphin rider in the finish. “It’s always enjoyable winning,” he said. “Me and Mickael are good friends but, when you are out there, you are by yourself and you want to win for yourself. It doesn’t matter who is in the finish, you always try to win.”

Asked if he felt the victory re-established his seniority within the Godolphin riding ranks, Dettori said: “No. We’ll have to prove it in the next one – you only remember the last one.”

When asked if he had read any of the speculation about Dettori, Sheikh Mohammed said: “I don’t care, I have my own ideas. I know how good Frankie is and we do need more than one jockey for Godolphin.”