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Opinion Poll and Duncan seek a second Series victory

18 Aug 2011

The fourth race in the QIPCO British Champions Series Long Distance category, the Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup, sees Duncan and Opinion Poll, winners of the first and third races respectively, bidding for further success.

Duncan, like Opinion Poll, will be chasing his second Series victory in Saturday’s Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup.  Image courtesy of

A very strong renewal of the two mile Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup on the final day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York sees Opinion Poll look to enhance his excellent record in the QIPCO British Champions Series Long Distance category.

The Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained five-year-old was a very creditable second to Fame And Glory in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the second race in the division, and then won the third race, the Artemis Goodwood Cup, in a driving finish on ground that was plenty fast enough for the soft ground-loving stayer.

This is the fourth race in the division and he must hold an excellent chance of repeating his victory in this same race a year ago for his jockey, Frankie Dettori, as long as the ground does not dry out too much. The opposition is tough, however.

The John Gosden-trained Duncan took the first race in the division, the Emirates Airline Yorkshire Cup over a mile-and-three-quarters in May, and probably did not stay the two-and-a-half miles of the Gold Cup when finishing eight lengths behind Opinion Poll, having been in front with over a furlong to go.

Blue Bajan, who was just half a length behind Duncan in the Yorkshire Cup and the same distance behind Opinion Poll in the Goodwood Cup, reopposes and has place prospects once again, but stronger competition may come from two classy middle distance horses stepping up to this distance for the first time.

The James Given-trained Dandino won a Group 2 race at Newmarket over a mile and a half earlier in the season before finishing a creditable fourth, beaten just over six lengths, behind St Nicholas Abbey and Midday in the Investec Coronation Cup over the same distance in June.

If he stays the trip, he could make his presence felt for the Series’ leading jockey, Tom Queally, a comment that applies even more so to the higher rated Harris Tweed, who has won over a mile-and-three-quarters and who was a fine second to Await The Dawn over a mile-and-a-half in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The William Haggas-trained four-year-old, who usually likes to front run, has the same official British Horseracing Authority rating (116) as Opinion Poll and Duncan, but he will receive three pounds in weight from them on Saturday as they have to carry penalties for their victories earlier in the season. That could make all the difference.

To see the full race page, CLICK HERE.