Charlie Appleby gives Blue Point green light to attempt Royal Ascot double

Thu 20 Jun 2019
 Blue Point and Appleby after victory on Tuesday (Focusonracing)
Blue Point and Appleby after victory on Tuesday (Focusonracing)

Tuesday’s King’s Stand hero Blue Point is one of 18 horses declared for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

Charlie Appleby’s speedball successfully defended his King’s Stand crown with a tremendous performance to see off old foe Battaash on the opening day of the showpiece meeting.

The five-year-old will now bid to become the first horse since Australian raider Choisir in 2003 to win both major sprints in the same week.

Appleby said on Thursday: “He’s come out of Tuesday’s race well and it was always in the back of our minds that we might do do this, but we didn’t want to say too much after Tuesday’s race because we wanted to see how he came out of it.

“He was obviously entered in both races and he seems to have taken the King’s Stand well. He had some light exercise this morning and looks great and has eaten up – he’s doing all the things you’d want him to do if you’re thinking about running again a few days later.

“After discussing it with His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed), we decided we’d declare him and it still gives us another 48 hours to check everything is fine with the horse. We think he deserves to take his chance.”

Blue Point’s task is far from straightforward, with several top-class sprinters lying in wait.

The James Tate-trained Invincible Army has been the star of the six-furlong division so far this season – impressing in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster and the Duke of York Stakes.

Last year’s second and third in Stephane Wattel’s City Light and Wesley Ward’s Bound For Nowhere are back for more, while the 2017 winner – James Fanshawe’s The Tin Man – is out to regain his crown.

Like Blue Point, Aidan O’Brien’s Le Brivido and Michael Pitman’s New Zealand challenger Enzo’s Lad are turning out for the second time in the space of five days, having finished down the field in the Queen Anne and King’s Stand respectively.

Other contenders include Sir Michael Stoute’s Dream Of Dreams and the Richard Fahey-trained Sands Of Mali.

MASAR FACES SEVEN RIVALS ON RETURN:

 Masar and his lad pictured last month (Epsom Downs Racecourse)
Masar and his lad pictured last month (Epsom Downs Racecourse)

Last year’s Derby winner Masar returns to action in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

Not seen in action since his finest hour at Epsom last June, the Charlie Appleby-trained four-year-old runs in this 12-furlong Group Two in preference to the Prince of Wales’s Stakes earlier in the week.

He faces eight rivals, including Roger Varian’s Coronation Cup winner Defoe, who took his form to a new level when winning at Epsom.

Sylvester Kirk’s Salouen finished third and Mark Johnston’s Communique fourth in that race and they both take on Defoe again.

Mirage Dancer steps up in class for Sir Michael Stoute after comfortably winning a Listed race last time out, while Morando takes his chance for Andrew Balding.

Aidan O’Brien is represented by Southern France, who pushed Stradivarius close in the Yorkshire Cup at York.

There is one filly in the field, John Gosden’s Lah Ti Dar, but she will need to step up on her sixth in the Coronation Cup.

Nagano Gold, trained in the Czech Republic, completes the line up.

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