Blue Point, Old Persian and Divine Image lead Godolphin hopes at Dubai World Cup

Sport360 staff 14:41 27/03/2019
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Charlie Appleby has the chance to secure another hat-trick at Meydan this weekend with Blue Point, Divine Image and Old Persian all favourites for their respective races on Dubai World Cup day.

The Newmarket trainer took his tally of winners to 26 in Dubai over the last 12 months after three victories at Meydan on March 9.

Although Old Persian capped an outstanding night for Appleby, it was Blue Point who shone brightest under the lights three weeks ago.

The sire of Shamardal cemented his position as the frontrunner for the Al Quoz Sprint with a stunning victory in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.

Blue Point took time to find himself in the 1200m race, but once William Buick got him rolling a furlong and a half out, they stormed across the line three lengths clear of Ekhtiyaar.

Appleby said: “Blue Point has been foot perfect in both his starts so far this year, winning over five and six furlongs, and came out of his victory on Super Saturday in good shape.

“Last year, we missed out the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint, but I feel that he has definitely benefitted from the extra run.

“He can be hard on himself sometimes at home, but giving him another race has certainly helped get to where we want him to be for the Al Quoz Sprint.

“If he turns up on his A-game, he is the one they all have to beat.”

Meanwhile, Divine Image is bidding for a unique UAE Triple Crown, having captured the UAE Oaks in February and the Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday.

The sire of Scat Daddy is the favourite in the 14-strong field for the G2 UAE Derby, where he will face the stiff challenge of Walking Thunder.

The 43-year-old said: “We were very pleased with Divine Image in the Al Bastakiya and she is a filly who is improving all the time.

“I think it was important to run her on Super Saturday to give her a bit more experience, mentally more than anything else.

“She is coming up against a couple of different rivals compared to her latest start, but we feel that she is going to be a major player again.”

Old Persian will also be a major contender for the Dubai Sheema Classic.

The Dubawi colt has only raced once this year, producing a late burst to beat Racing History by a short head in the Dubai City of Gold on March 9.

The four-year-old showed strong form in Europe last year, including G2 victories over 12 furlongs at York and Royal Ascot.

With sufficient rest over the last three weeks, Appleby will be hoping one of his finest horses can rise to the occasion.

The Southampton native said: “I was delighted with Old Persian on Super Saturday.

“It was great to get some course and distance experience ahead of the Dubai Sheema Classic, while he has definitely come forward for the run.

“This is a stiffer test compared to last time, but he needs to be bang there in a big race like this if he is going to be a nice mile and a half horse this year, which we hope he is.”

VERDICT

Dubai Sheema Classic: Old Persian

UAE Derby: Divine Image

Al Quoz Sprint: Blue Point

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