Blue on Point in Pavilion
Blue Point stamped his class on the Merriebelle Stable Pavilion Stakes at Ascot.
Charlie Appleby’s Shamardal colt mixed it with the very best as a juvenile last season, winning the Gimcrack at York as well as finishing placed in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood and both the Middle Park and the Dewhurst at Newmarket.
He was the 13-8 favourite to make a winning start to his three-year-old campaign in this six-furlong Group Three and ultimately did so with something to spare.
William Buick’s mount travelled well down the centre of the track before being asked to deliver his challenge heading inside the final two furlongs.
Mill Reef scorer Harry Angel did his best to cover the move racing nearer to the stands’ rail, but came up short by a length and a half, albeit conceding 4lb to the winner.
Mubtasim was best of the rest in third.
It was soon confirmed Blue Point had won in a course record time.
Appleby said: “I’m not going to start changing my opinion of him – he’s the quickest horse in the yard and always has been.
“The horse has wintered well. A couple of people have said he’s not the biggest, but for me he’s got a great chest on him and plenty of strength.
“A lot of credit needs to go to Willie Ryan, who taught the horse how to settle. A lot of horses travelled freely enough today, but this horse has learned how to settle and go through the gears.
“William (Buick) was delighted with him and we’ll go straight for the Commonwealth Cup.
“We spoke about the Sandy Lane (Haydock, May 27), but there’s no need to go there as he’s done his job, so we’ll head straight to Royal Ascot.
“I think he deserves to be there and I think he’s a very live contender.”
Clive Cox was pleased with the performance of Harry Angel.
“That was not too shabby. He was just a little bit fresh early on and that is why I wanted to come here, in spite of the penalty he had to carry,” said the Lambourn-based trainer.
“I think he’s got a bit to improve on, but with more racing, hopefully he’ll get the chance to improve further.
“I think we’ll go for the Sandy Lane as long as he comes back fine and dandy.
“I’m so excited about him and the other fella (Tis Marvellous, finished fourth) ran a super race, too.”
Bruce Raymond, racing manager for Mubtasim’s owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, said: “I thought he ran a very nice race and we think he’ll improve plenty, not just for his next race but throughout the season.
“He settled a lot better today than he did last year and I’m not sure where he’ll go next. I’ll leave that to William and Maureen (Haggas) to decide.”
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