All the talk was of Battaash and Lady Aurelia and who would come out on top in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes, but on an opening day at Royal Ascot that produced a number of big surprises Blue Point stunned his rivals by landing the spoils.
Well supported on course from 8/1 to 6/1, the Godolphin colt was given a terrific ride by William Buick who let the big two take each other on ahead of him. Battaash (9/4) showed tremendous speed to lead under Jim Crowley and had taken the measure of the 2/1 favourite and defending champion Lady Aurelia before the furlong pole. But having bounded into a length-and-a-half lead, Blue Point came out of the pack to gradually wear down Charlie Hills’ speedster, getting up in the last 75 yards before staying on strongly to score by a length-and-three-quarters. Michael Dods’ very progressive Mabs Cross (20/1) ran on to take third.
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It was a third win from four visits to Ascot for the son of Shamardal whose only defeat at the Berkshire track came in last term’s Group 1 Commonwealth Cup where he finished a fine third behind star pair Harry Angel and Caravaggio. He could next go for the six furlong Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket next month for which his odds have been slashed from 16/1 to a top priced 7/1 with Betfair. Harry Angel is the clear 4/1 ante-post favourite with William Hill.
“He brings his A game’ here,” said Appleby, trained of Derby winner Masar. “The stiff track suits him. I’ve always thought a lot of this horse since his two-year-old career. Plenty of pace suits him too. William gave him a copybook ride. He got a lovely lead into him and picked up well.”
“He’s a very quick horse and I was always very comfortable where I was, and I knew he would see the race out better than Battaash,” added Buick.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.