Colour Vision rallied under a strong drive from jockey Frankie Dettori and was able to hold off stablemate Opinion Poll and Mickael Barzalona to win the $542,500 Ascot Gold Cup (Eng-I) by a half-length at Royal Ascot June 21.
The 4-year-old gelding by Rainbow Quest then had to survive a lengthy stewards' inquiry before being officially awarded the victory. The results gave the Godolphin connections a one-two sweep of the Gold Cup, which is one of the most historic races in England.
The victory also provided Godolphin with its first group I winner of the flat season, and gave Dettori some vindication with the media, which have been speculating for several weeks that he is no longer the number one rider for the Godolphin team.
A field of nine faced the starter in the Gold Cup, with 2011 winner Fame And Glory going off as the heavy 4-5 favorite despite the fact the ground was very soft due to the heavy rain that fell overnight and earlier in the day. Last year's runner-up, Opinion Poll, was the second choice with the bettors, with Colour Vision going off at 6-1.
At the start it was Gulf of Naples who was sent to the front by Silvestre de Sousa. The gray colt loped along at a crawling pace as the field raced in a tight bunch behind him. Dettori kept Colour Vision along the rail in second, with Nehaam and Paul Hanagan to their outside in third.
Jamie Spencer had Fame And Glory on the rail and settled in mid-pack early, with a well-in-hand Opinion Poll sitting just off his flank. William Buick was having a hard time trying to get a very keen Caucus to relax and rate for him on the outside, as Askar Tau and Bridge of Gold trailed the field.
The order remained the same throughout much of the 2 1/2-mile marathon, with Gulf of Naples continuing to lead while steadily increasing the pace as the field neared the four-furlong marker.
When the horses hit the top of the straight the real running began. Gulf of Naples dug in gamely along the rail and clung to a slight lead as both Nehaam and Colour Vision challenged. Rallying from the back of the pack was Opinion Poll, while Fame And Glory had no response for Spencer and ran one-paced.
With just over a furlong to run, Colour Vision edged past Gulf of Naples to the lead, but Opinion Poll was charging strongly and soon pulled abreast of his stablemate. The Godolphin pair battled stubbornly to the wire, with Colour Vision drifting to his left slightly and bumping Opinion Poll twice in the final strides.
At the wire it was Colour Vision by a half-length over Opinion Poll, with Saddler's Rock just a neck farther back in third. Fame And Glory was never a factor, finishing seventh.
The final time for the 2 1/2 miles was 4:42.05 over a course officially labeled "good to soft."
Stewards reviewed the final stages of the race but the results remained unchanged.
Dettori was delighted with the result, and treated the Royal Ascot crowd to his famous flying dismount. He told reporters after the race, "It was great. This was my best chance of the week."
"I had to make a very hard decision (to ride Colour Vision over Opinion Poll)," he continued. "They are both great horses and warriors and I finished up the best, but only by a short margin."
"I'm delighted for the team and myself as well. It's been a very hard week and I'm glad this one came up."
It was the fifth Gold Cup winner for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who first won the race in 2004 with Papineau. He was very pleased to have Dettori in the saddle for this victory, saying, "After Frankie rode the horse last time, he knew it would be hard to choose between the two, but when he picked our horse, he thought he'd picked the best one."
Colour Vision was bred in France by Capricorn Stud. He is out of the stakes-winning Monsun mare Give Me Five. Colour Vision hails from a very stout German-bred family that has produced champions Graf Philipp and Ghana II, and Irish St. Leger (Ire-I) winner Authaal.