Monday 23 April 2018

Dettori drives Opinion home

Thomas Kelly

FOR those privileged to witness the great Frankel blitz his rivals in Wednesday's Sussex Stakes, it was only left for Frankie Dettori to land a major prize and delight the Glorious Goodwood crowd with a flying dismount in front of the packed terraces to complete the perfect week.

Dettori, for his part, did not disappoint in the saddle in the featured Goodwood Cup yesterday, driving home Godolphin's Opinion Poll to beat Lost In The Moment, also in the same ownership, in a thrilling finish to prevail by the official margin of a head, with a neck back to Blue Bajan in third. But, for racegoers, that is when the fun stopped.

Over the years, Dettori has been racing's greatest showman, playing up to the crowd at even the most mundane meeting, but when he steered Opinion Poll back into the winner's enclosure, the jockey pointed to his leg and said loudly: "I can't do it."

It transpired that Dettori was still suffering the effects of last Saturday's horror fall from Rewilding in Ascot's King George. He was nursing a hairline fracture to his toe.

Opinion Poll, runner-up to Fame And Glory in last month's Ascot Gold Cup, has been a remarkably consistent stayer, this marking his seventh win in 19 starts. He is better with some ease underfoot and, with the ground drying out, connections were fortunate that conditions were still suitable.

Dettori ended the day with a double following Meeznah's victory in the Fillies Stakes -- and also a two-day ban (August 11-12) for using his whip with excessive frequency on Opinion Poll.

Masamah earned himself a crack at three of Europe's top sprint races -- York's Nunthorpe Stakes followed by Haydock's Sprint Cup and the L'Abbaye at Longchamp -- by putting up a commanding performance in the King George Stakes.

Meanwhile, Richard Hannon, despondent and defiant after the defeat of Canford Cliffs on Wednesday, can cheer himself up today with a colt which could yet develop into a successor to his stable star.

Harbour Watch runs in the same colours and the early signs are that he will prove another advertisement for the champion trainer's tried-and-tested system.

By a young commercial sire and bought in the middle tier of the yearling market, he made a striking debut at one of Hannon's favourite tracks, Salisbury. He then pulverised some smart types at Newmarket, bursting four and a half lengths clear of Burwaaz.

The runner-up ran very well here earlier in the week when second in the Molecomb and it is going to take something out of the ordinary to prevent Hannon celebrating a remarkable fourth consecutive success in the Tanqueray Richmond Stakes.

The most valuable prize of the day is the Totesport Mile, where a low draw should be a help to the favourite, Green Destiny. He was undeniably impressive at York last time, but this represents a radically different test, down in trip on a sharp track.

Western Aristocrat (2.35) looked ready for the extra furlong when running the classy Strong Suit so close at Royal Ascot, while Redwood (2.0) is rock solid in the opener.

Irish Independent

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