Blue Point sparkles to seal Royal Ascot sprint double
London (AFP) –
Blue Point became the first horse since Australian star Choisir in 2003 to win the King's Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes in the same week at Royal Ascot on Saturday.
Five-year-old Blue Point -- who is only the third horse to complete the sprint double -- gave Godolphin Operation's Sheikh Mohammed special pleasure as he intends to whisk him off to stud.
Blue Point -- who won his second successive King's Stand on Tuesday by beating Battaash -- was one of two winners for trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey James Doyle on the final day of Royal Ascot.
Frankie Dettori -- formerly employed by Godolphin -- drew a blank but ended up as champion jockey at the meeting for the first time since 2004 with seven winners.
Blue Point was given a superb ride by Doyle -- who has proved an able deputy with his close friend and Godolphin's first-choice jockey William Buick sidelined by concussion -- tucking in behind Kachy before delivering him to strike the killer blow.
Dream of Dreams came late but Doyle had just enough to win by a head and deny another in-form rider, Danny Tudhope, his fifth win of the week.
"He's going to the stud and I wanted to see him race again," sad Sheikh Mohammed. "It's a marvellous feat, good horses have always given me great pleasure."
Doyle said things had "got a bit hairy late on", but relief was mixed with awe at the talent of the winner.
"I've never met a horse as tough as this," he said.
There was a poignant win in the final race of the meeting as King Power Racing -- whose patriarch Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed in a helicopter crash shortly after taking off from Leicester City's stadium last October -- won their first-ever race at the meeting.
Cleonte, ridden by champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa, and roared on by trainer Andrew Balding, won the marathon Queen Alexandra Stakes.
- 'Loveable rogue' -
Defoe marked himself out as a potential champion middle-distance horse by following up his Coronation Cup victory with a win in the Hardwicke Stakes.
Andrea Atzeni's mount's task was made easier when last year's Derby winner Masar stumbled out of the stalls and Doyle did well to keep him on his feet.
The big surprise of the race was Czech runner Nagano Gold, who finished second despite being hindered by Masar's stumble and could be one to watch for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October.
Atzeni and trainer Roger Varian were to complete a double later when the heavily-backed Cape Byron won the Wokingham Stakes.
Godolphin and Appleby opened the day with a stunning performance by Pinatubo in the Chesham Stakes, earning him an 8/1 quote for next year's English 2000 Guineas.
Doyle got him home ahead of Aidan O'Brien's favourite Lope Y Fernandez and broke the two-year-old track record in the process for 7 furlongs (1400 metres), timing one minute and 25.73 seconds.
"He just gets better and better," said Doyle.
"He's a very smart horse who travelled like the best horse in it and once he got room he quickened up well."
Appleby was denied an immediate return to the winners' enclosure as Tudhope came from last to first to steer home the Richard Fahey-trained Space Traveller in the Jersey Stakes, edging out Godolphin's Space Blues.
"He's very talented but can be tricky to win with," said Tudhope of the winner who has been labelled as a "loveable rogue" by Fahey.
"He has a tremendous amount of ability and I'm glad he's done it today on the biggest stage," added 33-year-old Scotsman Tudhope.
? 2019 AFP