Easy G2 Meydan Sprint win for returning Blue Point
Star sprinter Blue Point made the perfect start to his five-year-old campaign with a blistering display in the in the G2 Meydan Sprint over five furlongs on turf at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 14 February.
Last year’s G1 King’s Stand Stakes winner, having his first outing since finishing third in the G1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York, UK, in August last year, broke well under William Buick and raced in a close third of the six runners before going second after the first quarter-mile.
The Shamardal horse loomed up to take up the running from Faatinah with more than two furlongs to race and readily opened up daylight over his rivals approaching the final furlong, quickly going clear. Blue Point was eased in the closing stages to come home five lengths ahead of Faatinah in a fast time of 56.52s, just over half a second outside the course record, on ground described as good.
His trainer Charlie Appleby said: “When you are dealing with nice horses like Blue Point, you can afford not to have them fully tuned up for races like this. The team have done a great job and we felt he was ready to run.
“If he brought his class, he was going to be good enough to win, but we had a left a bit on him because the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night (6f, Saturday, 30 March) is our target.
“No disrespect to this race, and we were pleased to win it, but it was the right stepping stone onto the Al Quoz.
“I was pleased to see him in the paddock tonight, more so than a couple of days ago when it looked like he had a couple of pounds left on him. He had tightened up a bit more tonight.
“We were always confident that he was going to come forward for whatever he did tonight.
“He is a five-year-old now and a professional – getting better with racing. He came alive two furlongs down and it was only a matter of William asking him to pick up and do a bit of work. “I am very pleased and, all being well, he should step forward for it and all roads will now lead to the Al Quoz Sprint.
“I feel that he is not overly exposed as a sprinter – we looked after him a two-year-old and a three-year-old, while he wasn’t over-raced last year so he is entitled still to be learning.
“The Nunthorpe is a great race, but you can get results like we saw last year because the five-furlong handicappers are rapid, and that is what caught him out. He didn’t quite have the legs of them.
“He learned a lot at York and has obviously strengthened. He is the finished article now and hopefully it will be a fun season, wherever we go with him.
“We will head straight to the Al Quoz Sprint now and I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t give him a break afterwards before heading back to Royal Ascot for the King’s Stand Stakes again.”
William Buick added: “It was a nice comeback opportunity for Blue Point and he did it very comfortably, doing everything right. It was lovely to see him come back like that.
“He has probably matured a little bit compared to 12 months ago and the biggest difference this year is that he is a G1 winner this time. He had proved himself and feels like a very confident horse – there is no question that he is a top sprinter.
“This is a very different course to Ascot and that is what probably caught him out in this race last year. You meet the rise at Ascot, but here you run into a dip and it’s a very easy, flat five furlongs.
“He did it very well tonight and quickened well off a strong pace. Five and six furlongs come alike to him and it depends on how the races are run more than the trip.”