DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – After being a late scratch as the favorite in last year’s event, Godolphin’s Blue Point returned to finally take home glory in Saturday’s Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored by Azizi Developments (G1) at Meydan Racecourse.
Breaking from post 8 as the heavy 3/5 favorite under William Buick, Blue Point stalked from the middle of the tightly-packed field as the 6-year-old mare Belvoir Bay held the early lead over Sands of Mali. With 1 1/2 furlongs remaining, Buick unleashed Blue Point, who commenced a rally along Belvoir Bay’s outside, while to her inside, her Peter Miller stablemate Stormy Liberal began to advance past a weakening Sands of Mali.
The mare fought valiantly to maintain position, but inside the final 1/2-furlong, Blue Point showed why many consider him to be the world’s best turf sprinter. Changing leads late, he surged late to take the victory by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:08.40 for the 6-furlong sprint over the firm turf course. The win was the second straight of the night for Godolphin, Buick, and trainer Charlie Appleby.
“That was nice and straightforward and the horse deserved it,” Buick said. “He has been foot-perfect in his two lead-up races to this and he has copied that today. He travelled really strongly and has again shown a great turn of foot. When he got to the front, he knows he has done enough. It is great at the age of 5 he is showing everyone just how good he is and he has always shown us so much speed. I remember riding him as a 2-year-old and I’d never ridden a faster horse before he made his debut. He has developed into a top-class sprinter now.”
Belvoir Bay ran perhaps the race of her life, getting just caught late by possibly the world’s best turf sprinter. Stormy Liberal was unable to improve from his narrow loss in this race last year and finished a close third. Further behind them came Viddora, The Right Man, Sands of Mali, Brave Smash, Wishful Thinker, Ekhtiyaar, Lost Treasure, Mazzini, Illustrious Lad, and Caribou Club to complete the order of finish.
Blue Point’s win was third straight, having taken the two local preps for this one without ever being asked for his best, and improved his overall record to 19-9-3-3. The 5-year-old son of Shamardal nearly doubled his career earnings mark, taking home $1.2 million to increase his lifetime bankroll to $2,579,210.
“You have got a combination here of William and the horse,” Appleby said. “They thrive off each other. William knows him inside out. I knew from the body language, as much as you never get confident too soon, but I felt that William had pretty much everything covered there. I’m delighted. I have always been very fond of him, ever since his 2-year-old days, and he’s doing what we always hoped he would do one day, and that is to become a finished article in the top sprinting division.”
Blue Point returned $3.20 to win, $3 to place, and $2.10 to show. Belvoir Bay brought back $9.80 to place and $7.40 to show, while Stormy Liberal paid $4.40 to show.