Godolphin's Blue Point to 'come into his own this year' after Dubai World Cup Carnival win
Trainer Charlie Appleby bullish about bay horse as he aims for Al Quoz Sprint, which he missed last year through injury
Charlie Appleby expects 2019 to be Blue Point's breakthrough year after the Godolphin bay horse blew away his rivals at the Meydan Sprint in Dubai on Thursday.
Trainer Appleby said Blue Point would “come into his own this year” after the son of Shamardal clinched the Group 2 race under William Buick by beating Faatinah by five lengths at Meydan Racecourse. He would have won by a bigger margin had Buick not eased up near the finishing line.
Jim Crowley led Faatinah for the first 600 metres, but Buick moved in front to put the 1,000m race quickly to bed. Nonetheless, it was the most memorable race of Week 7 at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Appleby, who now plans to run Blue Point in Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup Night next month, was ecstatic about the fact his horse ran well despite not having fully tuned up for the race.
“He’s a five-year-old now and he’s a professional,” Appleby, however, said. “William asked him to pick up and he ran a professional race. After this is the Al Quoz."
The Englishman does not believe Blue Point has been "overly exposed" in the run-up to the big night on March 30, and says "it’s going to be a fun season for him".
Godolphin will hope so, considering Blue Point – runner-up to Ertijaal in the same race 12 months ago – was forced out of Al Quoz Sprint by an injury. Even though he finishing third in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August, he was returning to race action after a long break.
“It was a nice comeback opportunity for him and he did it very comfortably,” Buick said. “Lovely to see him come back like that. He did everything right."
He added Blue Point had matured since last year.
"The biggest difference [from last year's race] is he is coming here now a Group 1 winner this time," Buick said. "He has proved himself and he feels like a very confident horse. No question about it.”
The Appleby-Buick partnership cashed in twice more on the night through Art Du Val in the fourth race and Poetic Charm in the Group 2 Balanchine 35 minutes later.
Earlier, Crowley rode Doug Watson’s Muntazah to victory in the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes.
“He showed last year that he has a lot,” Crowley said. “I thought he was a bit unlucky in the Godolphin Mile [he finished second to Heavy Metal last March] and that was his first time on dirt.
“He ran a good race last time [finishing third in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 on January 10] and he is a big horse who likes to get rolling. There was a bit of speed in that race and it caught him out and it got a bit messy. I felt he would come on a lot for that one and he did tonight.”
AF Sajanjle bagged his biggest career prize by landing the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah and providing trainer Ernst Oertel his first success of the season at Meydan.
Tadhg O’Shea raced with the leading group before pressing on the gas for the six-year-old of AF Al Buraq to go clear on the home stretch and win by more than nine lengths from Erwan Charpy’s Cheik Roque under Antonio Fresu.
AF Sajanjle was winning for the first time in six starts for the season and will now go straight to the Group 1 Kahayla Classic, the Arabian showpiece on Dubai World Cup Night.
Godolphin completed a fourth win on the night with Saeed bin Suroor’s Mountain Hunter taking the concluding handicap under Christophe Soumillon.
Updated: February 14, 2019 10:29 PM