x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Godolphin has big hopes for Opinion Poll

Opinion Poll takes to Sandown for the Henry II Stakes but Godolphin has eyes on the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for their charger.

Frankie Dettori took Opinion Poll to the winner's circle in the Dubai Gold Cup on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan. Godolphin has high hopes for their charger in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown and the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot a month from now.
Frankie Dettori took Opinion Poll to the winner's circle in the Dubai Gold Cup on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan. Godolphin has high hopes for their charger in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown and the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot a month from now.

 

Godolphin expect Opinion Poll to run a big race in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park racecourse in England on Thursday in preparation for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next month.

The six year old took advantage of the unfortunate and fatal accident to Fox Hunt at Meydan Racecourse to win the rerun inaugural Dubai Gold Cup in March.

Since then, Opinion Poll has been steadily brought back to race tempo by Mahmoud Al Zarooni and is reportedly ready to confirm his standing as the highest-rated stayer in the 10-runner line-up.

"I love this horse. He does everything you ask of him and he does everything right," the Godolphin trainer said.

"He's in very good form at the moment and I think you'll see a very good run from him.

"People must remember he is an old man now but he has lots of experience and that helps in these long distance races, it helps them relax."

Godolphin have ill-judged the preparedness of Opinion Poll before, however. Last season he was beaten on his seasonal bow in Europe in a Group 2 race in France.

Opinion Poll finished fourth to Brigantin, trained by Andre Fabre, in the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier before he was the runner-up by three lengths to Fitri Hay's Fame And Glory at the Royal Meeting.

And Simon Crisford, the racing manager to the Dubai-based operation, highlighted that it is next month's task, and not tonight's, that is the priority.

"He is entered in the Gold Cup so whatever he does he will improve for the run," he said.

"He is at the same level of fitness as he was a year ago.

"He is in good order, we are happy with him and he has every chance at Sandown but the plan is the Gold Cup."

Since joining Godolphin from Michael Jarvis's yard in January last year, Opinion Poll has raced 11 times, with Frankie Dettori, in the saddle tonight, on board five times.

Mickael Barzalona will ride Ley Hunter, Godolphin's other runner in the extended two-mile contest, as the team try to whittle down their staying division.

Dettori partnered Colour Vision to success at Kempton Park last month and has first choice on board the rapidly-improving grey, who was formerly trained by Mark Johnston before being switched to Saeed bin Suroor and is considered a serious rival to the reigning Ascot Gold Cup champion.

The Italian also rode Opinion Poll to victory on World Cup night and will have a difficult decision next month should Al Zarooni's preparation for tonight prove spot on.

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