x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Opinion Poll in good shape ahead of British Champions Day

Frankie Dettori will steer the Godolphin horse who is set to compete with Fame And Glory in the Long Distance Cup.

Jockey Frankie Dettori, aboard Opinion Poll, right, is prepared for the Ascot Challenge.
Jockey Frankie Dettori, aboard Opinion Poll, right, is prepared for the Ascot Challenge.

Godolphin are hoping to make an immediate impression on British Champions Day this Saturday when Opinion Poll lines up in the Long Distance Cup, the first race on the inaugural card at Ascot.

The Dubai-based organisation's flagship stayer is set to duel with Fame And Glory, his Ascot Gold Cup conqueror, but Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manger, believes that Mahmood Al Zarooni, the trainer, has got the five year old in perfect condition.

"Opinion Poll is in tremendous form and has been very consistent throughout the whole year, including when he was racing in Dubai," he said. "We are very happy with him. Looking at the entries, I would say he could win the race."

Although 12 other horses stood their ground at the five-day declaration stage Fame And Glory, owned by Dubai's Fitri Hay, remains the greatest obstacle to the biggest portion of the £200,000 (Dh1.14 million) purse.

Frankie Dettori is again set to partner Opinion Poll. The pair teamed up to win the Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup before finding the concession of 17lbs to Saddler's Rock too much at Doncaster a month ago. Saddler's Rock is set to be supplemented tomorrow but Dettori was more concerned about the new whip rule in British racing, which limits jockeys to seven hits per race.

"He's tremendously lazy at times, so I'll have to be very careful," Dettori said.

Godolphin are also targeting the meeting's most lucrative contest, the Champion Stakes.

Although Godolphin have entered three in the 10-furlong feature it is understood that Poet's Voice will try to defend his crown against Frankel in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over a mile. That leaves Casamento and Dubai Prince in the frame and Crisford could barely contain his enthusiasm for the latter.

The unbeaten three year old suffered a fracture earlier in the season which ruled him out of the English 2000 Guineas. He made his comeback last month when winning a useful Conditions event.

"Dubai Prince is the one horse we have within Godolphin whom we have definitely not seen the best of yet," Crisford said.

"It is impossible to judge his form so far and we don't know how good he is. He hasn't claimed any proper scalps yet but he is exciting us and he belongs in that race alongside very good horses."

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