GODOLPHIN’S Blue Point landed the 6f Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes under James Doyle just four days after winning the King’s Stand Stakes to become only the eighth runner since the Second World War to complete a double at Royal Ascot. The 5yo Shamardal entire, who was emulating Choisir’s remarkable feat in both races in 2003, went off the warm favourite and held on to narrowly deny Sir Michael Stoute’s Dream Of Dreams, owned by Saeed Suhail, while early leader Kachy held on for third. The speedball, trained by Charlie Appleby, has now won all five of his runs this year, three at Group One level, and Sheikh Mohammed was delighted to see Blue Point strike again.
“He is a very good horse and after he won the King’s Stand it was quite an easy decision to run him again,” he told ITV Racing. “We wanted to see him another time at Ascot before he goes to stud so I think it was marvellous.” James Doyle, who had his first victory teaming up with Blue Point on the Tuesday, was understandably overwhelmed to have been a part of a history making duo. He said: “That was pretty special. He gave me a great feel after his last piece of work before the King’s Stand and I said then he was one of the quickest horses I’ve ever ridden. It was a little bit hairy at the finish, but he’s so genuine and I’ve never met a horse as tough as this.” Defeated by a head, Dream Of Dreams almost spoiled the party with Danny Tudhope inches away from making it a phenomenal five Royal Ascot victories from nine rides, while Sir Michael Stoute’s wait for a second Diamond Jubilee winner after Dafayna in 1985 goes on.
Third home, Kachy, stormed out of the stalls into an early lead and was able to keep pace to take third ahead of Speak In Colours, while Le Brivido followed up his fifth in the Queen Anne with the same placing here. On what proved to be a fantastic day for Godolphin, Woodcote Stakes winner Pinatubo provided the team with the best possible start with a sparkling performance in the 7f Chesham Stakes, a Listed race for juveniles, smashing the 2yo track record in the process. Now three from three, the son of Shamardal was always going well and a furlong out the race turned into a battle of the sport’s superpowers, with the Ballydoyletrained Lope Y Fernandez responding well to pressure under Ryan Moore.
However, he was no match for Pinatubo, who showed an impressive turn of foot under James Doyle to stretch more than three lengths clear of the favourite. Highland Chief finished third for trainer Paul Cole. The colt stopped the clock at 1:25.73s, beating the previous record of 1:26.55s which was set by Malabar in a July maiden in 2014. Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “I felt that going up to 7f was always going to suit him. “Going forward, I think something like the Vintage would suit him. The undulations of Goodwood can catch some horses out, but he already has experience of Epsom. You need to be able to travel at Goodwood and that seems to be one of his attributes.” Doyle added: “We said at Epsom, he goes up and down the gallops and shows up nicely without setting the world alight. He is just getting better and better.”
Victory for a yard favourite means that bit more and Defoe did his popularity no harm in producing a career best performance to land the 1m4f Hardwicke Stakes, in a quality renewal of the Group Two contest. Continually improving, the 5yo is not just the apple of everyone’s eye at Roger Varian’s Carlburg Stables in Newmarket but also immensely treasured by the trainer’s family. While the Varian team on course were beaming from ear to ear and fielding handshakes and hugs from left, right and centre after his thrilling victory over Czech Republic challenger Nagano Gold, the trainer’s children Momoka, Eiji and Reika will have been watching intently on television from home. Varian’s wife Hanako said: “Defoe is my favourite as he’s a lovely horse at home yet really tough on the track and that is a rare combination.
He’s kind, a gentleman and all he wants to do is eat grass, even at the racecourse! He’s just so chilled out and a pleasure to have in the yard. “He’s very kind to our children and he’s just so nice. Days like this are fantastic and it’s great for his owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, who has been so kind to our family and the children who I’m certain are watching at home.” Last year’s Derby winner Masar loomed up promisingly on the outside entering the home straight but faded in the closing stages to finish fifth. A return to Ascot for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes on 27 July is next on the agenda for Defoe, who struck at the top level for the first time in the Coronation Cup at Epsom earlier in the month. Varian, celebrating his third Royal Ascot success, said: “Defoe is everyone’s favourite horse and he’s just hard not to like.
He’s very straightforward, tries, is always relaxed and getting better with age. “It was a strong race on paper and he’s taken his form forward from Epsom. It was a tough performance and he’s such a lovely horse to train. “He had a good attitude as a colt and it was Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s decision to geld him at the end of last season, which is possibly going to elongate the horse’s career. “We’ve always had faith in him being very capable to mix it with the best and hopefully we can bring him back for the King George. It has to be on the radar with a nice break between now and then and we’re excited for the rest of the season.” It had been a testing week for winning rider Andrea Atzeni, who failed to strike on 15 earlier rides at the meeting, which made this triumph extra special.
Atzeni, mixing delight with relief, said: “It’s been a longish week but I did think my best rides came today and it’s great for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, who is a big supporter of mine and puts a lot of money into the game. “Defoe has always had lots of talent but has turned the corner this year and is just getting better and better.” Work rider Mick Denaro was the talk of the hallowed turf in the winner’s enclosure after Varian heaped praise on the man who has had a pivotal role in the landing of two notable Wokingham Handicap victories. The second of his handicap heroics came with Cape Byron, who Denaro felt would be suited by dropping to sprint distances on the basis of his home work and could now be set for a tilt at the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket after landing the 6f handicap from 25 rivals.
Cape Byron burst to the front approaching the final furlong and held on well to defeat runner-up Tis Marvellous by a length and a half to justify strong favouritism, sealing a final day double for Varian, Atzeni and owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum after Defoe’s Hardwicke success. Varian said: “I have to thank Mick Denaro who rides most of Cape Byron’s work. He fed me this idea even before he came here and won the Victoria Cup, and Mick used to ride Laddies Poker Two who won the Wokingham for Jeremy Noseda. “He told me he’d not had a similar feel off a horse since Laddies Poker Two when he rode Cape Byron, and thought I was running him over too far. He was right. “This horse so deceives. He travelled so strongly in the Victoria Cup but just held on at the finish which gave us plenty of confidence for this race.
Sheikh Mohammed Obaid has been very patient with him and his entry in the July Cup becomes very tempting. He carried a lot of weight and was very impressive so it was the performance of a Group horse.” In a week that was quite simply out of this world for Danny Tudhope, it was rather appropriate he won his fourth race of the royal meeting on a horse called Space Traveller who landed the 7f Group 3 Jersey Stakes, a race for 3yos. Had there been nothing more to celebrate than Lord Glitters’ victory in Tuesday’s opening Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, Tudhope could still have looked back on his week with a big smile. Yet after a great beginning things only became better, and having also won on William Haggas-trained stable companions Addeybb and Move Swiftly, Tudhope took his haul for the festival to four when outsider Space Traveller edged out favourite Space Blues by a head.
It was a shock success but not of the fluke variety, for although Space Blues at first struggled to find daylight, the Godolphin colt still enjoyed first run on Richard Fahey’s representative, who had lost his last seven races. “I didn’t expect to have four winners, so I have to pinch myself just to make sure it’s real,” said Tudhope. “I’m enjoying it. I’m riding for good people and I’m riding good horses. “This horse has ability and we thought he could run well but we didn’t think he would be good enough to win. I think he’s just a horse who is hard to win with, so I’m chuffed he has won on the biggest day.”
Plenty had expected this to be the biggest day in the career so far of Space Blues, but as Appleby raised the option of the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest, it is safe to say the second has more to give. His partner, James Doyle, received a pair of two day bans, one for his use of the whip, the other for careless riding. “I think we’ll end up going back in trip with him,” said Appleby. “He has an abundance of pace and when he quickened we thought he had put the race to bed.” Disappointingly for Space Blues backers, he had not. Fahey, who landed the 2016 Jersey with Godolphin’s Ribchester, was not disappointed. “I think you would have to say it was a surprise, certainly looking at his form,” said Fahey. “We did like him last year and he has now bounced back to the horse we thought he might be. “Last time we were trying to find an easy option for him and ended up running him over 6f in France.
“We thought he would go there and win to enjoy a confidence booster. I think we now know 7f is definitely his trip and maybe a bit further.” As well as praising the 3yo Bated Breath colt, Fahey also praised the owner, Clipper Logistics boss Steve Parkin, who was not among the Ascot throng. “He had a very important meeting but told us how to ride the horse,” said a grinning Fahey. “It has been an amazing week for me and the team. “I can’t describe it. Thank you to everybody who has helped me.” The finale, the Queen Alexandra Stakes, a conditions contest over an extended 2m5f, went to Cleonte, the 6yo gelded son of Sir Percy saddled by Andrew Balding and partnered by Silvestre de Sousa, sporting the colours of King Power Racing.