Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 September 2019

Royal Ascot: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid ecstatic after Blue Point secures rare double

Vice President and Ruler of Dubai says easy decision to bring horse back to run in Diamond Jubilee days after King's Stand Stakes victory

Queen Elizabeth II presents Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, with the Diamond Jubilee trophy. Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA
Queen Elizabeth II presents Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, with the Diamond Jubilee trophy. Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA

Blue Point completed the sprint double at Royal Ascot to become a Godolphin hero in the five-day festival meeting.

The Charlie Appleby-trained speedball, who landed the King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs on Tuesday, completed the double by clinching the Diamond Jubilee over six furlongs on the concluding day on Saturday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said it was an easy decision to bring Blue Point back to compete for a second Group 1 prize four days after winning his first.

“He is a very good horse, and after he won the King's Stand, it was quite an easy decision to run him again,” Sheikh Mohammed said of the five-year-old by Shamardal. “We wanted to see him another time at Ascot before he goes to stud at the end of the season.”

Blue Point became only the second horse to win the double since Choisir's remarkable feat in 2003.

“It’s a marvellous feat,” Sheikh Mohammed added. “Good horses give you great pleasure.”

Ridden by James Doyle, Blue Point tracked pace-setter Kachy and hit the front with a furlong to go, and held off the fast finishing Dream of Dreams to win by a head.

“That was pretty special,” the winning jockey said. “He gave me a great feel after his last piece of work before the King's Stand, and I said then he was one of the quickest horses I've ever ridden.

“It was a little bit hairy at the finish, but he's so genuine and I've never met a horse as tough as this.”

Pinatubo provided Godolphin, Appleby and Doyle the first of the two winners on the day by smashing the track-record time for two-year-olds by more than four-fifths of a second in the Listed Chesham Stakes.

Pinatubo joined Aidan O’Brien’s €900,000 (Dh3.7m) yearling Lope Y Fernandez in the final furlong before pulling away for an emphatic three-and-a-quarter length verdict over the seven-furlong trip. He stretched his unbeaten run to three.

Daniel Tudhope riding Dream of Dreams, No 5, battles with James Doyle riding Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Bryn Lennon / Getty Images
Daniel Tudhope riding Dream of Dreams, No 5, battles with James Doyle riding Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

“He came in here with the right credentials,” Appleby said of the winner. “I was quite confident throughout the race that we were going to be at the business end.

“Going forward, I think something like the [Group 2] Vintage Stakes [in July] would suit him. The undulations of Goodwood can catch some horses out, but he already has experience of Epsom.

“You need to be able to travel at Goodwood and that seems to be one of his attributes.”

It could have been two from two for the royal blues had Daniel Tudhope not got Space Traveller to pip Doyle on Space Blues by a head in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes 35 minutes later.

Masar, Godolphin’s 2018 Derby winner who was returning to the racetrack since winning the English Classic in more than a year, had to settle for fifth place after stumbling and going down on his nose at the start of the Hardwicke Stakes.

Doyle, though, was pleased with Masar’s effort.

“It was not ideal, we ended up a bit far back and they didn't go that quick,” the Godolphin jockey said. “When the stalls opened, his nose disappeared. When he came back up, he hit me in the chest and put me back in the saddle.

"We ended up a bit further back than we wanted and then he got caught for a bit of speed in the straight.”

Defoe under Andrea Atzeni in the silks of Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum produced a now-familiar late run to win the Group 2 prize from Czech raider Nagano Gold and Mirage Dancer by half-a-length and a length, respectively.

“I was in front a long way out and probably got there sooner than I'd like, which wasn't ideal. He's very straightforward, and you need good horses like Defoe on weeks like this."

“I'm really delighted. It's a special moment,” Defoe’s trainer Roger Varian said. "He's a very good horse. He’s getting better with age it seems.

“Hopefully we can bring Defoe back for the King George [at Ascot on July 27]. It has to be on the radar with a nice break between now and then and we’re excited for the rest of the season.

“He’s sort of everyone’s favourite horse and he’s just hard not to like. He had always had a good attitude as a colt, and it was Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s decision to geld him, which is possibly going to elongate the horse’s career.”

The owner, trainer and jockey partnership completed a double when Cape Byron landed the Workingham Stakes, the fifth race.

Updated: June 22, 2019 09:55 PM

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