Royal Ascot: Blue Point Stars in King’s Stand Thriller
Blue Point proved the king of the sprinters with victory in Tuesday’s Group 1 King's Stand Stakes, holding off 2/1 favourite Battaash for the second year running.
Godolphin’s star sprinter, sent off a well-backed 5/2 second favourite, looked vulnerable as the strong-travelling Battaash loomed up entering the final furlong but Blue Point saw his race out the better of the pair to win his third Group 1 prize.
Godolphin’s figurehead Sheikh Mohammed said: "That has given me a lot of pleasure. When you win a Group 1, you are very happy. Blue Point was in Dubai during the winter and the weather there helped him. He came here a stronger horse.
"It is very good to get a winner at Royal Ascot. Everybody wants a horse that is able to run at Royal Ascot."
Blue Point, who has now four races from five starts at Ascot, a track which brings out the best in him, had run in three sprints at Meydan since the turn of the year, winning them all, including the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint.
His regular partner William Buick is currently sidelined following a case of concussion but he was present to cheer on best mate James Doyle, who stepped in for the ride.
Triumphant Aidan O’Brien
Elsewhere on what proved a very wet opening day, Aidan O’Brien secured a remarkable eighth victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes thanks to Circus Maximus who justified being supplemented at a cost of £45,000.
Circus Maximus, sent off a relatively unfancied 10/1 chance with most racing bookmakers, was steered to a neck victory from the fast-finishing King Of Comedy by Ryan Moore, who started the day a shade of odds-on to be top jockey at Royal Ascot this week.
Moore already has two winners on the board thanks to Circus Maximus and Arizona, a narrow winner of the Coventry Stakes earlier in the afternoon and still has a host of great chances this week.
Moore has company at the top of that particular leader board though, because Daniel Tudhope also has two winners thanks to Lord Glitters (14/1) in the opening Queen Anne Stakes and the William Haggas-trained Addeybb (5/1), who bolted up on his preferred soft ground in the Wolferton Stakes.
Tudhope, registering an 89/1 double on day one of the Royal Meeting, has now ridden seven winners overall at Royal Ascot.
He said: "I was very lucky to get on Addeybb at the right time. He loves soft ground and he was in a different league in this grade.
"I've had a few winners for William Haggas this year and I was very grateful to get the ride on him. I work hard and every day is a tough day.
"You have your ups and downs, but these sorts of days make it worthwhile."
Top-weight The Grand Visir (12/1) captured the £90,000 Ascot Handicap for brilliant dual-purpose trainer Ian Williams, who also saddled the third home, Time To Study.