Royal Ascot victor Blue Point on target for Group 1 double in Darley July Cup

Charlie Appleby and William Buick getting feedback from Brett Doyle afte...

Charlie Appleby (left) and big-race jockey William Buick (right) during track-work at Newmarket. (Pic: Courtesy of Jockey Club Racecourses).

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Charlie Appleby is targeting a Group 1 double with Blue Point who bids to follow up on his Royal Ascot win in the King’s Stand Stakes with victory in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on July 14.

The one and three-quarter length victory in the five-furlong feature at Royal Ascot was the first success at Group 1 level for the ultra-consistent son of Sharmadal who has won six and been placed five times in a career spanning 13 starts.

The success was all the more notable after a mishap in a Group 1 at Sha Tin in Hong Kong’s New Territories at his most recent start in late April; and was withdrawn in Dubai when suffering an injury at the starting gates.

The Darley July Cup is the first chance for the top three-year-old sprinters to compete against older horses over six furlongs at Group 1 level and Appleby has been pleased with the four-year-old’s progress since the Royal meeting.

“Blue Point has come out of the King’s Stand Stakes very well and the plan is for him to head straight for the Darley July Cup,” said Appleby who trains from Moulton Paddocks, one of Godolphin’s two training yards in Newmarket.

“He will be stepping back up to six furlongs but a stiff six is well within his compass – he holds the Ascot track record at that trip, don’t forget, and he was placed in a Dewhurst Stakes over seven furlongs as a two-year-old.”

“To win the Darley July Cup with him would be huge – not just because we sponsor the race, it’s also a great race for making stallions, one of the summer spectacles that you really want to be part of, and one that usually decides who is going to be Champion Sprinter.”

“Winning the King’s Stand was a bigger achievement than some people realise, given what had happened to Blue Point on his two previous visits to a racecourse.”

“He banged his head on the stalls and had a trickle of blood coming out of his nostril so had to be withdrawn at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night and then we got caught out trying to take on the Hong Kong sprinters at their own game. But I am a big believer that horses learn from experiences like that.”

“He’s a very clean-winded horse who did very little between Hong Kong and Ascot so we will stick to the same programme and just try to keep him fresh, happy and well as he doesn’t need to do anything more prior to the Darley July Cup.”

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