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Dettori gold run silences critics

FRANKIE Dettori quashed any thoughts his illustrious riding career could be winding down with a brilliant ride on Colour Vision in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

The always-popular Italian has been the subject of much media attention in recent weeks as his position as Godolphin's number one rider has been challenged by the up-and-coming jockey Mickael Barzalona, who has on occasions been picked over Dettori.

On this occasion Dettori had the choice of two runners for the powerful team and just about got it right as Saeed bin Suroor's 6-1 chance Colour Vision narrowly held off a strong-finishing Opinion Poll and Barzalona by half a length.

Dettori was visibly thrilled passing the winning line and although the first two came close together in the final furlong, a stewards' inquiry ruled that the placings should remain unaltered.

Saddler's Rock finished a credible third, but last year's winner and hot favourite Fame And Glory disappointed. 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."

Dettori said: "It was great. This was my best chance of the week."

John Oxx was frustrated Saddler's Rock finished a neck behind in third and 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 round and would not drop the bit.

"He pulled for a mile and then it was a sprint and since he prefers good to firm ground, he could do no more than stay on and finish very well."

Last year's winner Fame And Glory, the 4-5 favourite, had a difficult passage when penned in on the rails and could only finish seventh.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "He has come back fine and seems to be fine after the race. It was an interesting race."