Dubai: Godolphin’s Blue Point demonstrated that the Dubai Winter program is worth its weight in gold when posting back-to-back wins in the King’s Stand Stakes, one of three glittering Group 1 contests, on the opening day at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
Trained by Epsom Derby and Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Charlie Appleby, Blue Point raced three times during the Winter in Dubai, winning on all three occasions, before he was shipped backed to Newmarket, England to prepare for the British flat-racing season.
The King's Stand Stakes over five furlongs was his intended target as it was twelve months ago when he beat Battaash in the same race.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who created Godolphin in 1992 and also devised the Winter program in which horses travel from England to Dubai during the offseason and train in the desert sunshine.
The program has produced great results, the first of which was when LammtarraWintered in Dubai and returned to England to capture the 1995 Epsom Derby , one of the greatest flat races in the world.
Speaking to ITV Racing at Royal Ascot Shaikh Mohammad said: “In the winter he was in Dubai and that was helpful and he returned to Royal Ascot as a stronger horse.
“It’s always nice to have a Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot. It’s a very good result because everyone wants to have a winner at Royal Ascot.”
Shaikh Mohammad also hintedthat Blue Point may have run his last race when he said: “He’ll go to stud now.”
Should that happen he is likely to join Godolphin's thriving stallion roster which includes his sir Shamardal, who won the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2005 and now stands at Godolphin’s Kildangan Stud in Ireland.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, acquired in 1986 to bolster his thoroughbred breeding empire.
14Group 1 wins for Godolphin during the 2019 season
Winning jockey Doyle was gracious in his praise for the teamwork that goes on behind the scenes at Godolphin and said: “I’ve done plenty of homework and a few weeks ago Charlie said: ‘Let’s just pop you on him, as he is tricky’. That’s why Charlie is the great trainer he is — he thinks about all these little things.”
Appleby, who won the Epsom Derby and Melbourne Cup last season, said of Blue Point: “He’s one of the old warriors in the yard now and everyone at home has done a fantastic job with this horse.
“I knew when he came under the pump he’s always going to find for you.
“Battaash travelled supremely well and at one point I thought we were really going to have to dig deep, but once they got into a duel I knew our fella wasn’t going to lie down.
12horses have won the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes twice
“He’s been very close to us all and he’ll always pull on your heartstrings when you’re watching him.”
Earlier in the opening Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, Lord Glitters went once place better than last year when landing the Queen Anne Stakes for David O’Meara and Danny Tudhope, 14/1 outsider Lord Glitters ran a blinder under Danial Tudhope to to score from 20/1 shot Beat The Bank.
Irish-trained Circus Maximus relished the back in trip to land the St James’s Palace Stakes, the third Group 1 contest on a fantastic opening day’s card at Royal Ascot.