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Blue makes major Point for Godolphin ROYAL ASCOT


Exciting sprinter Blue Point silenced the big guns and landed the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes to continue a wonderful season for Godolphin, Charlie Appleby and William Buick who were making a great start to the five days of Royal Ascot. The race had been billed, by many, as a duel between last year’s winner Lady Aurelia and Sheikh Hamdan’s Battaash, which the latter won; he went straight to the front as the stalls opened and had the American raider beaten fully two furlongs out. However, just as his followers began to celebrate the eventual winner loomed large and, under a strong Buick drive, swept by to score by almost two lengths.

Mabs Cross ran on strongly to claim third with Lady Aurelia fading into seventh. The success followed hot on the heels of Masar’s Epsom Derby victory for Appleby, Buick and a resurgent Godolphin team. Battaash, the Prix de l’Abbaye winner last year, had been last to go to post and looked like being first home as he broke quickly and seemingly took control, with Lady Aurelia wilting in behind. But in his slipstream were Buick and Blue Point, who slowly eroded the lead to prevail, ultimately, in style. The spring was not kind to Blue Point, who was withdrawn at the start of Meydan’s Al Quoz Sprint because of blood in his nostrils and then flopped in Hong Kong before being shaken by turbulence on the plane home. But he likes it at Ascot. 

“He brings his ‘A game’ here,” said Appleby. “The stiff track suits him. I’ve always thought a lot of this horse since his 2yo career. That’s why you have to give a lot of credit to Harry Angel and Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup last year, where we finished third behind them. “Plenty of pace suits him too. William gave him a copybook ride. He found a lovely lead on him and the horse picked up well. “He was my banker going into World Cup night. Unfortunately it didn’t materialise and the Hong Kong experience taught us a few manners about what we need to do next time we’re out there.

“The horse has a torrid time on the flight back but we gave him a nice break and the team have done a fantastic job getting him back. “I couldn’t have been happier with his preparation. He put in a really good piece of work the other day, and hopefully he’s back where he needs to be.” Buick added: “He’s a very quick horse and I was always very comfortable where I was; I knew he would see the race out better than Battaash.” Sheikh Mohammed, the Godolphin supremo concluded: “After Masar and the Derby, we’re taking it very easy. We’re enjoying ourselves and Royal Ascot. We’re relaxing now.”

Parole Without peers as enjoys Ascot freedom

Frankel colt Without Parole completed a double on the day for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori with victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes. An unbeaten 3yo who started favourite, he delivered in good style under Dettori, beating Gustav Klimt by half a length with French challenger Wootton back in third for Godolphin. Gosden said: “It was a brave performance. He had to commit early and he will have learned a lot. “He had one run at Newcastle at the backend of last year and he’s done nothing but improve, but there’s still a lot more to come. “I still can’t see a rib on him, he’s a bit tubby.”

Dettori added: “I had to move because Ryan Moore in front is very dangerous and when I closed on him, I looked and thought there was over a furlong to go and I’m a sitting duck here. “He’s a proper little horse. He’s a lovely horse; he’s only run four times, but to do what he’s done, he has a big future.” Gosden continued: “He is a grand horse. There were no hiding places in that race, it was a proper Group One pace. I think he is still on the up. He is still learning and at the moment he has a bigger middle than me. “I think he could stay at a mile or go up.

He was green on the bend and Frankie said ‘come on, old boy’. “He is so lazy at home. I’ve never known a horse eat and sleep like it, which is a great thing in a racehorse. He will improve and get sharper and he will get a little further, too.” Without Parole’s victory set the seal on a remarkable few weeks for owner and breeder John Gunther, as well as his daughter, Tanya. The pair bred this year’s American Triple Crown winner Justify before selling him on for $500,000 as a yearling in 2016. Despite having the accolade of producing that history-making colt, Gunther admitted this Royal Ascot victory meant so much more. He said: “It’s a dream come true. My dream was to have a horse run here, but to have one go and win a Group One is incredible. It means everything to me and always will. This was always the most important result to me.”

Calyx sent to Coventry winner’s enclosure

Gosden and Dettori had opened their accounts for the week when favourite Calyx ran out a brilliant winner of the Coventry Stakes, the main juvenile feature at the meeting. The once raced son of Kingman stormed clear of his rivals on the stands’ side and was fully six lengths ahead of them inside the distance. However the dangers were on the far side of the track but try as they might they couldn’t wrest the prize from his grasp. Advertise came through for second, a length adrift of the winner, with Sergei Profokiev and Richard Fahey’s Vange in third and fourth. Gosden said: “He’s very talented, his father was exceptionally talented and he has all of those attributes.

The high draw may not be the best, and he’s had to race on his own for two furlongs with a huge crowd screaming. That’s a big ordeal for him and I think he’s done amazingly well to win. I’d love to give him a nice holiday now and come back for the Prix Morny.” Asked about the 2000 Guineas, Gosden said: “I don’t see why not but I think at the moment we should see if we can win a Group One with him and then think about stepping up.” Gosden and Dettori later made it three when Monarchs Glen landed the Wolferton Stakes in the colours of Khaled Abdullah. Dettori took the brave man’s route against the rail before switching his mount wide of rivals inside the final two furlongs and Monarchs Glen picked up well to score by a length from outsider Euginio. Dettori said: “I took a chance and it worked out. I didn’t expect this one to win. It’s been an amazing day. I missed the meeting last year and I have been making up for it. “I love Ascot. It’s been a very lucky place for me. It’s a team effort, though, and John is on fire.”

Nothing Accidental as Agent spies Queen Anne

Accidental Agent was something of a shock winner of the Queen Anne Stakes, the first race of Royal Ascot 2018. Trained by Eve Johnson Houghton, the 4yo was among the outsiders for the Group One contest over the straight mile, having finished sixth behind the reopposing Rhododendron in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. With Deauville setting the fractions in front, Charles Bishop took his time aboard Accidental Agent, settling him at the very rear of the field before making his move inside the final three furlongs. As Rhododendron weakened out of contention, Lockinge second Lightning Spear looked to have every chance of going one better as the post loomed, but was caught late on by both Lord Glitters and Accidental Agent.

An emotional Johnson Houghton, bagging her first ever Group One success, admitted she had been hoping for a place at best. She said: “I thought I was tilting at windmills and I dreamt about being third. I thought ‘my god, I’m going to be placed’, there was an awful lot of screaming going on. It’s just ridiculous. I have all my cousins and brothers and my mum here. I don’t think she’s ever going to get over it!”


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27 Sep 2018
Issue Number: Issue 648
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