Appleby eyes Middle Park glory with Blue Point
Charlie Appleby has revealed Blue Point is set to make the leap into Group 1 company in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Meeting next weekend.
The son of Shamardal suffered his first and only defeat to Mehmas — another Juddmonte entrant — in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood in July.
However, he got back on track three weeks later by winning the Gimcrack Stakes at York, which has convinced Godolphin trainer Appleby that the two-year-old is ready to make the step up on Saturday, September 24.
“Everything has been pointing towards the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes for Blue Point since his win in the Gimcrack and he has come out of that race very well. He is getting stronger all the time and should have come forward again for the race,” he said.
“We could not have been any more pleased with the way that he won the Gimcrack, although it was just repeating what we had already seen from him at home.”
“Inexperience got him beat at Goodwood – he had learned very little in his two races prior to that – but the Gimcrack was just what he wanted, as he was held up and could do it the right way, from behind.”
“Of my three other entries in the Middle Park, Final Reckoning will be left in to provide a potential pace angle if we think that is necessary.”
“The course and the ground should be fine for him at Newmarket. Like almost all speed horses he doesn’t want really soft ground but it would have to rain a huge amount for me to be worried about that.”
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Caravaggio and Richmond Stakes champion Mehmas are currently regarded to be 7-4 favourite Blue Point’s major rivals in the £180,000 six-furlong event.
n Newmarket jockey Frankie Dettori sprung a surprise last weekend by winning the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at The Curragh.
Order Of St George — winner in his previous six outings including the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot earlier this summer — was the heavily backed odds-on favourite to romp home.
But Dettori and his mount Wicklow Brave had other ideas as they looked to dominate from the front early on.
Ryan Moore, on the favourite, made inroads during the final two furlongs, but 11/1 shot Wicklow Brave held off the late challenge to win by half a length.
The victory clinched a first ever Classic success for National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins, who afterwards suggested that the seven-year-old is set to contest the Melbourne Cup on November 1.
n Newmarket Racecourses have confirmed that over £2 million in prize money will be on offer at the two-day Dubai Future Champions Festival, which gets under way on Friday, October 7.
On the track there are seven Group races over both days including the Group 1 features races each day; the Dubai Fillies’ Mile and Dubai Dewhurst Stakes on the Friday and Saturday respectively, worth £500,000 each — the richest Group 1 two-year-old races of their type in Europe.
The Godolphin Jockey Challenge will also make a return to the Rowley Mile, offering racegoers the opportunity to see what it takes to be a jockey.