Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 December 2019

Barney Roy leads Godolphin's charge on opening day at Royal Ascot

The Dubai racing operation has five entries across the three feature races in the six-race card on Tuesday

James Doyle and Barney Roy partner once again for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Getty Images
James Doyle and Barney Roy partner once again for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Getty Images

Godolphin will have a strong presence in the three Group 1 races on the opening day of Royal Ascot as the five-day race meeting gets underway on Tuesday.

The Dubai racing operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has five entries across the three feature races in the six-race card.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Barney Roy, who has run two solid races since returning from a 557-day injury absence, heads the trio in the Queen Anne Stakes in the first race of the day.

Barney Roy, who will be ridden by James Doyle, was runner-up to Zaaki in a Listed event over the course and distance on May 1, before winning a Listed prize in France in his most start a little over three weeks ago.

“Barney Roy is a past winner at Royal Ascot and we were delighted with his latest performance out in France,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.

“Getting his head back in front was definitely a confidence booster and he goes into this race in as good a shape as we have seen him since he arrived at Moulton Paddocks.

“He is bouncing around the place at home and we hope that he can be a major player in what looks like an open mile division.”

Appleby also runs Mythical Magic - ridden by Kerrin McEvoy – who is returning after finishing behind Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Mustashry in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

“Mythical Magic was disappointing, but it looks as though the race has brought him on,” Appleby said. “He didn’t really turn up that day, but looks a lot sharper now. It’s a big ask for him, but he showed a nice profile earlier in the year and, if he can reproduce some of his Meydan form, he could hopefully be a contender for the places.”

Saeed bin Suroor sends out Dream Castle, who won three races at Meydan before being unplaced in the Group 1 Dubai Turf on the Dubai World Cup night in March. He was a close fifth behind Zabeel Prince in the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan in France in his last start.

“He is in good shape and has been working well,” Bin Suroor said of Dream Castle. “This looks a tough race, but he has the class to run well, having won at Group 1 level out in Dubai earlier this year, and I am hoping for a good performance.”

Blue Point is bidding for back-to-back King’s Stand Stakes in a rematch of 12 months ago with Battaash and Mabs Cross.

Winner of the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on the Dubai World Cup night, Blue Point returns to the track after completing a hat-trick at Meydan.

“Blue Point did nothing but thrive in Dubai over the winter, with the highlight being his victory in the Al Quoz Sprint,” Appleby said. “We have always felt that the stiff five furlongs at Ascot is his best trip and he seems to bring his A game to the course.

“It looks like it is going to be a great race and another strong renewal, but we are very happy with Blue Point.

“I think he has matured into a proper sprinter over the winter and the results out in Meydan have shown that.

“In an ideal world, the sounder the surface the better for Blue Point, but he has won on good-to-soft at Ascot in the past and should be fine on the forecast ground.

Royal Marine is Godolphin’s sole flag bearer in the St James’s Palace Stakes, a race that includes the Irish 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain and runner-up Too Darn Hot.

“Royal Marine was disappointing in the (English) 2,000 Guineas, so we gave him a little break, but he is back working nicely at home,” said Bin Suroor. “We wanted to give him another chance in a Group 1 race and he looks to be in good condition.”

Updated: June 17, 2019 05:06 PM

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