Godolphin’s Blue Point (IRE) joined a select band of horses to complete the double of Royal Ascot’s two historic sprint prizes when he added the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) to the King’s Stand Stakes (G1) he won four days earlier and secured a place in the field for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) via the Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 86 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, California, Nov 1-2.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Blue Point to start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
Winners of the King’s Stand Stakes, the five-furlong sprint run on the opening day of the Royal Meeting, rarely tackle the six-furlong Diamond Jubilee Stakes as well, but as Blue Point, a 5-year-old horse by Shamardal out of Scarlet Rose (GB), retires to stud at the end of the season, Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed granted trainer Charlie Appleby’s wish to attempt a feat completed only twice before – by Diadem in 1920 and Choisir (AUS) in 2002.
Blue Point had won the King’s Stand Stakes for the second year running when he beat Battaash (IRE) by 1 ¼ lengths on Tuesday.
“We wanted to see how he was after the King’s Stand but it was always in the back of our minds that if he won on Tuesday we would look at the Diamond Jubilee,” said Appleby.
“The first signs were encouraging when he came out of the race as well as we could hope. On Wednesday morning he had a jog and on Thursday and Friday easy hacks. He got his weight back up as well. His racing weight was 536kg on Tuesday and it was 536kg when he left this morning. So I couldn’t have been happier with the way we had the horse.”
Royal Jubilee Stakes Replay
Blue Point, the 6-4 favorite, travelled supremely well behind a blistering pace set by Kachy (GB), who held a clear lead until joined by the Godolphin runner with a furlong to run. Blue Point then opened up his own advantage but the gap began to close as Saeed Suhail’s 5-year-old Dream Of Dreams (GB) went in pursuit and only a head separated the pair at the post. Kachy held on for third, two and a half lengths further back.
Blue Point was winning for the fifth time at Ascot from six visits and jockey James Doyle said: “He’s a horse you dream about having. He’s got better with each race. He just jumps, travels and does everything you need to do.
“Kachy went a hell of a lick. Blue Point is so genuine he was trying to run him down a bit earlier than ideal. I was trying to preserve his energy for as long as we could, mindful of going that extra furlong. When he did get there he just got a little bit lonely but he did feel the other horse come and stuck his neck out. He’s an amazing horse.”
Blue Point Wins King’s Stand Stakes
Appleby said: “I have to say I got a bit too excited too soon. The way he travelled and picked up I thought he’d put it to bed. The last 50 yards I was all of a sudden holding my breath slightly. He’s a gallant horse and he probably wanted something to race with him. James said he couldn’t believe they had called a photograph.
“It’s great for his highness Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin. The team have done an amazing job. It’s very sporting of his highness to allow me to have a crack at running this horse back quickly. He will have a fantastic stallion career ahead of him.”
Blue Point becomes the first horse from Europe to win an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and the second horse this year. Already qualified is World of Trouble, winner of the Jaipur Invitational Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes was the last of four Breeders’ Cup Challenge races run during the Royal Ascot meeting. On Tuesday, Geoff and Sandra Turnbull’s 6-year-old gelding Lord Glitters (FR) won the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) to earn an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). On Wednesday, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild’s 5-year-old Crystal Ocean (GB) earned a free berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) by capturing the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1), and on Thursday, Shaikh Duaij Al Khalifa’s 2-year-old A’ Ali (IRE) won the Norfolk Stakes (G2) to gain an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2).