Blue Point back for another crack at G2 Meydan Sprint
G1-winning sprinter Blue Point spearheads a strong Godolphin contingent for this week’s seventh Dubai World Cup Carnival fixture at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 14 February.
The five-year-old Shamardal horse, trained by Charlie Appleby, makes a second appearance in the G2 Meydan Sprint after going down by a head to course record holder Ertijaal in the five-furlong contest on turf 12 months ago.
Blue Point went on to beat the world’s top-rated horse over five furlongs, Battaash, with an impressive victory in the G1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and makes his first appearance since coming home third in the G1 Nunthorpe Stakes, also over five furlongs, at York in August.
William Buick takes the ride again on Blue Point, who is drawn in stall one.
Charlie Appleby is also represented in the seven-runner Meydan Sprint by four-year-old Roussel (James Doyle, drawn three), who twice finished second at Listed level as a juvenile and came home a close fifth on his seasonal return in a six-furlong turf handicap at Meydan on Thursday, 10 January.
The trainer commented, “Blue Point is coming back from a bit of a lay-off, having not run since August, but I have been pleased with his preparation.
“He has done well from four to five and looks the finished article now.
“Our main aim has always been the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup Night (6f, Saturday, 30 March), and therefore there should be some marked improvement on whatever he does this week.
“He is not coming up against a horse of the calibre of Ertijaal this time and should still be the one to beat.
“Roussel finished second in the Windsor Castle Stakes as a two-year-old and showed some good natural speed on his latest outing, when he wasn’t beaten by far.
“We felt that this was a nice opportunity for him to tackle a decent sprint and possibly get placed in a Group contest.”
The three Group races on Thursday’s card also includes the nine-furlong G2 Balanchine on turf, which features the first two home in the mile G2 Cape Verdi at Meydan on Thursday, 17 January among the six runners – Poetic Charm (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) and Asoof (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon), both sired by Dubawi.
Charlie Appleby reported, “We were delighted with Poetic Charm’s victory in the Cape Verdi.
“The step-up to nine furlongs is a slight question mark, but we were very pleased with the way she galloped out last time and she is coming up against the same group of fillies.
“If she stays the trip, she should take all the beating again.”
Saeed bin Suroor said, “Asoof ran well to finish second last time.
“This is another tough race, but this trip should suit her and she has been going well at home.”
Victory Wave (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave, drawn four of the 10 participants) finished fourth in the Cape Verdi and the five-year-old mare, successful on Fibresand and Polytrack in the UK, switches to dirt for the six-furlong handicap.
Silent Attack (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon, drawn four of the seven runners), second in a G2 in Turkey in 2016, races on dirt for the first time in the mile G3 Firebreak Stakes following two starts on turf at Meydan this year, including a staying-on fourth in a mile handicap on Thursday, 31 January.
Saeed bin Suroor added, “We wanted to give Silent Attack a chance on dirt and a mile is a nice distance for him.
“He has been training well and I am hoping for a better performance this time.”
Art Du Val (Charlie Appleby/William Buick), who won on debut at Newmarket and was runner-up in a mile Listed race at Deauville, France, on his only subsequent outing, heads three Godolphin contenders for the Meydan Trophy over nine and a half furlongs.
He is joined in the turf conditions race for three-year-olds by Burj (Chistophe Soumillon) and Promise Of Success (Kevin Stott), who are both trained by Saeed bin Suroor. Seven Godolphin runners in the concluding 12-furlong turf handicap include four from Charlie Appleby – Meydan winners Walton Street (William Buick) and Zaman (James Doyle) plus French G3 victor Stage Magic (Colm O’Donoghue) and Celestial Spheres (Brett Doyle).
Saeed bin Suroor is also well represented in the same race, through Very Talented (Pat Cosgrave), Mountain Hunter (Christophe Soumillon) and Red Galileo (Rowan Scott), who makes a quick reappearance after finishing second over two miles at last week’s Carnival meeting.