Blue Point
Blue Point, ridden by jockey William Buick wins the Meydan Sprint race sponsored by Gulf News at Meydan on Thursday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: In-form Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby said he was looking to having “a lot of fun” with his star sprinter Blue Point after the son of Shamardal passed his first test-drive of the season with flying colours at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday evening.

Ridden with supreme confidence by stable jockey William Buick, Blue Point sprouted wings inside the final two furlongs to fly away from his three rivals in the Group 2 Meydan Sprint sponsored by Gulf News, one of three glittering races on a card sponsored by the UAE’s leading English language newspaper on week seven of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Appleby said that Blue Point has earned himself a short rest before he begins his preparations for a second shot at the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on March 30, a race that he regrettably missed last year after being scratched at the starting gates following veterinary advice.

Rajeev Khanna, Commercial Director
Rajeev Khanna, Commercial Director, Al Nisr Publishing presenting trophies to Charlie Appleby, Sophie Chretien and William Buick after Blue Point won the Meydan Sprint race sponsored by Gulf News at Meydan on Thursday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Australian speedball Faatinah, ridden by Jim Crowley for David Hayes, finished five lengths back in second place while Portamento, the mount of Dubai World Cup-winning jockey Fernando Jara, took third a further two lengths back.

“He’s a nice horse, this fellow,” said Appleby. “Not having been fully tuned up, he ran well.

“This horse is going to come forward and come into his own this year. He’s a 5-year-old now and he’s a professional.

“William asked him to pick up and he ran a professional race,” he added,

“After this it’s the Al Quoz. He’s not overly exposed, really. Last year, he wasn’t over-raced.

“It’s going to be a fun season for him.”

Buick, who has ridden Blue Point in all but one of his last seven starts, said: “It was a nice comeback opportunity for him and he did it very comfortably; he did everything right.

“He has probably matured a bit and the biggest difference (from his last race here one year ago) is he is coming here now a Group 1 winner this time. “He has proved himself and he feels like a very confident horse. No question about it.” he added.

Blue Point was one of Godolphin’s star performers in the UK last season, a year when he collared Battaash, the world’s top-rated sprinter, in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. He was subsequently third in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August, where he finished a close third to Alpha Delphini.

Earlier in the evening, AF Al Sajanjle, ridden by champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea for highly regarded Purebred Arabian handler Ernst Oertel, spreadeagled his eight rivals to win the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah Sponsored by Watch Time, by 9 ½ lengths.