SANDOWN, ENGLAND // Simon Crisford moved on the debate surrounding Frankie Dettori last night after the Italian rider won the Group 3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown on Opinion Poll.
Dettori's joy at the success was tangible afterwards and having denied Luca Cumani's Ibicenco by almost three lengths he performed his flying dismount which is usually reserved for Group 1 victories.
Opinion Poll's next target is at Royal Ascot next month in the Gold Cup, in which he was second to Fitri Hay's Fame And Glory 12 months ago.
Godolphin also have Colour Vision lined-up for the race, however, and although Dettori has now won on both horses this season, it appears he has little choice about which horse he will ride.
"Frankie is still our senior jockey but he will not decide which horses he rides, we decide this," Godolphin's racing manager said.
It was rumoured on Wednesday night that Dettori had retired following the news that Mickael Barzalona had been handed the ride aboard Kailani in today's Oaks at Epsom. Both Godolphin and the rider denied this.
The decision to keep Barzalona on Kailani after his win at Newmarket on the filly this month was made by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, who welcomed Dettori into the winners' enclosure at Sandown.
Barzalona joined Silvestre De Sousa and Dettori on the Godolphin roster this year and Crisford once again underlined the approach that the Dubai-based operation employ with regards to their three retained riders.
"We thought we made our position clear back in March when we recruited De Sousa and Barzalona when we said they would all be sharing rides," he added.
"We want to support these two young jockeys and some of the recent misleading headlines have exacerbated the situation but nothing has changed."
Opinion Poll, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, had not run since he won the delayed Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan Racecourse on World Cup night in March but was far too good for his rivals.
Crisford revealed that the key to the horse is to keep him busy and although he had not seen a racecourse for 61 days he had enjoyed only 12 days off training during that time.
"If you give him time out he starts going bananas so you can't give him too much time off," he added.
"Mahmood knows when he has to peak so it is easy to give him a little time off. The Gold Cup is very much the plan."
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