ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Godolphin’s Blue Point easily disposed of a late challenge from Battaash to become just the horse in history to successfully repeat as champion of Tuesday’s $640,000 King’s Stand Stakes (G1) at Ascot Racecourse.
Bursting from the gate as the 8/5 stateside favorite under substitute rider James Doyle, Blue Point closely tracked early leader Soldier’s Call for the first half of the running. With just over 2 furlongs remaining, Doyle urged Blue Point to the front, which he attained with relative ease. Battaash presented his bid with less than a furlong remaining, but Blue Point turned him away before kicking off sharply and hitting the wire 1 1/4 lengths ahead. The Charlie Appleby trainee’s winning time for the 5-furlong sprint came in :58.53.
“It gives me immense satisfaction that I didn’t mess it up because I have ridden Blue Point twice before and it didn’t really work out,” said Doyle, filling in for regular rider William Buick who suffered a concussion here at Ascot on May 11 when he was unseated as his mount headed to the post. “The race couldn’t have gone much smoother, to be honest. He is a real, tough warrior and I had to do most of the running on my own, which is never easy, but it just shows what a classy sprinter he is. Blue Point has beaten Battaash each time they have met. I was not really worried about him; I was more worried about the rain coming down. Luckily, it only drizzled and hasn’t really effected the ground for now.”
For the second straight year, Battaash found himself coming up just short in the King’s Stand. Though he was caught late, Soldier’s Call stayed on to capture third ahead of Mabs Cross. The rest of the field crossed thusly: Fairyland, the lone American-based runner Imprimis, Equilateral, Houtzen, Signora Cabello, Sergei Prokofiev, Enzo’s Lad, and Judicial.
Blue Point’s win was his fourth straight, all in 2019, and followed up a gutsy performance in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on the Dubai World Cup undercard. The 5-year-old son of Shamardal improved his career record to 19-10-3-3 (including 5-4-0-1 locally) with $2,934,612 earned.
“For His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the Royal Family to be here is marvellous – the one thing we talk about all winter is Ascot, Ascot, Ascot,” Appleby said. “Once this meeting finishes on Saturday, we’ll start planning for next year. It’s a team effort, and to get the horses here in the condition of their lives is all down to the team behind me, and for which I am very grateful. To get a winner is what it’s all about, and even better on the first day.”
Blue Point returned $6.60 to win and $2.60 to place, Battaash brought back $2.60 to place, and Soldier’s Call paid $8.20 to place.