Tuesday’s King’s Stand hero Blue Point is one of 18 horses declared for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.
Charlie Appleby’s speedball successfully defended his King’s Stand crown with a tremendous performance to see off old foe Battaash on the opening day of the showpiece meeting.
The five-year-old will now bid to become the first horse since Australian raider Choisir in 2003 to win both major sprints in the same week.
Godolphin trainer Appleby told Press Association Sport: “He’s come out of Tuesday’s race well and it was always in the back of our minds that we might do do this, but we didn’t want to say too much after Tuesday’s race because we wanted to see how he came out of it.
“He was obviously entered in both races and he seems to have taken the King’s Stand well. He had some light exercise this morning and looks great and has eaten up – he’s doing all the things you’d want him to do if you’re thinking about running again a few days later.
“After discussing it with His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed), we decided we’d declare him and it still gives us another 48 hours to check everything is fine with the horse.
“We think he deserves to take his chance.”
Blue Point’s task is far from straightforward, with several top-class sprinters lying in wait.
The James Tate-trained Invincible Army has been the star of the six-furlong division so far this season – impressing in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster and the Duke of York Stakes.
Last year’s second and third in Stephane Wattel’s City Light and Wesley Ward’s Bound For Nowhere are back for more, while the 2017 winner – James Fanshawe’s The Tin Man – is out to regain his crown.
Like Blue Point, Aidan O’Brien’s Le Brivido and Michael Pitman’s New Zealand challenger Enzo’s Lad are both turning out for the second time in the space of five days, having finished down the field in the Queen Anne and King’s Stand respectively.
Other contenders include Sir Michael Stoute’s Dream Of Dreams and the Richard Fahey-trained Sands Of Mali.
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Stradivarius became the first horse to win successive Ascot Gold Cups since Yeats won his fourth in 2009 on Thursday.
It was a memorable day for Frankie Dettori who won the first four races at Royal Ascot.
The Italian kicked off his day with Al’Ali in the Norfolk Stakes for Simon Crisford, before winning the Hampton Court aboard the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sangarius and the Ribblesdale Stakes with John Gosden’s Star Catcher.
It was then all eyes on the Gold Cup, where Dettori again emerged victorious through Gosden’s defending champion Stradivarius.
In winning his seventh successive race, Stradivarius created his own little piece of history. For once Dettori appeared to be in the wrong place as he was stuck behind horses, with Dee Ex Bee still in front alongside Master Of Reality, but as soon as a gap appeared the chestnut was through it like a shot.
Dee Ex Bee battled back for second, just pipping Master Of Reality.
“What a horse, he got me out of trouble,” said Dettori. “He’s the horse for the big occasion and people love him.
“It’s great for everyone connected with the horse – every time he runs he delivers.”
Asked if he could go through the card, he replied: “I did it in 1996, so you never know.”
Godolphin‘s Blue Point confirmed his superiority over Battaash to win back-to-back renewals of the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Billed as a match between the big two, it developed into everything race fans wanted inside the final furlong – but Charlie Appleby’s five-year-old was pulling away at the line.
In the early stages Jim Crowley on Battaash was tracking Houtzen, but they were on their own and just after halfway Crowley took the decision to track over towards the main group.
As Blue Point moved to the head of that pack, Battaash travelled up strongly alongside him, only for James Doyle’s mount to see it out the strongest.
The 5-2 chance won by a length and a quarter, with Soldier’s Call just pipping Mabs Cross for third to prevent an identical result to last year.
Appleby said: “I was concerned the ground might get too soft for him, but it can rain as much as it likes now!
“We’ve all been very much involved in this horse. It’s great for William (Buick) being here and the team at home have done a fantastic job with this horse.
“To do back-to-back wins in this race is fantastic, as I knew he’s going to have a great career at stud when he retires at the end of the season.
“During the winter we saw how much more professional he was. He’s strengthened and when William got off him after his first start in Dubai he said he was a different animal. He’s the finished article now.
“I’ve got a great team behind me and it’s great for Sheikh Mohammed and his family being here.
“We’ll give him a little break and work back from the Abbaye at some stage.”
Doyle said: “It worked out very well, very smooth, just how we saw it on paper.
“I knew we’d have to do it on our own and while I wasn’t always in front, I was leading my batch and I thought it was a real testament to himself.
“Battaash came to him late on and he held him off. He’s more electric on faster ground, but he’s a real tough horse and the good ones go on anything.”
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