A York hat-trick for Dettori
York // Opinion Poll formed the cornerstone of a treble for Frankie Dettori Saturday when the Godolphin five-year-old powered to victory in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup.
Dettori had ridden Parlour Games, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, to win the preceding handicap. After teaming up once again with Al Zarooni on Opinion Poll, he won a Listed contest aboard My Propeller, owned by Joey Barton, the Newcastle United footballer.
In an exciting battle in the closing stages of the long finishing stretch, Opinion Poll joined Duncan, ridden by Eddie Ahern, at the 200-metre marker, where the two horses struck each other.
Neither Dettori nor Ahern had their whips in the correct hand and the two horses clashed again in the final 100m before Opinion Poll stuck out his head to win.
"The great thing about this horse is that he will always try for you," Dettori said. "We got a bit close together in the battle, but we won going away. After our first brush, my horse got unbalanced. In the last 50 yards I passed Eddie and won by three-quarters of a length. It was more of a brush than a bump."
It was Opinion Poll's second successive victory in the race and confirmed the impression that the son of Halling, a dual winner at York in 1995/96, is now one of the best stayers in training. He finished second in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June to Fame And Glory, who fluffed his lines yesterday when edged out by Fictional Account in the Irish St Leger Trial Stakes at the Curragh. Opinion Poll's success, and the eclipse of Fame And Glory, brings to focus next year's rematch at the Royal Meeting, which would be the ultimate goal of both horses.
Until then, Opinion Poll remains on course for the Group 2 British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on the inaugural British Champions Series finale card in October, although he could feature in the Doncaster Cup next month depending on how he comes out of yesterday's race.
Fame And Glory, who was bought by the Dubai-based Jim and Fitri Hay earlier this year, will continue his preparation for the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe a week earlier.
Published: August 21, 2011 04:00 AM