Blue Point Stakes Everest Claim By Beating Battaash

By Brad Gray

Charlie Appleby has confirmed that The Everest is “definitely on the radar” for Blue Point, after the Godolphin sprinter, ridden by William Buick, took out the King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot overnight.

Prior to the race much of the interest, as far as the $13m Everest goes, was around Lady Aurelia and Battaash, but after Blue Point chased down a gallant Battaash and Lady Aurelia failed to fire, a new royal blue contender emerged.

“A lot have been have mooted for The Everest which was obviously run for the first time last year and is a fantastic race, so it’s definitely on our radar,” Appleby told Sky Racing’s Lizzie Jelfs.

“We’ve got a few more months to cover yet but it’s there on our radar. We’ll enjoy today and then look to the future.

“(I’ll) let the dust settle and over the course of the next week or two will be in conversation with His Royal Highness (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum). We’ll map out what we feel is right for the horse.”

In his runs prior to his Royal Ascot success, Blue Point was withdrawn from Meydan’s Al Quoz Sprint and then disappointed in Hong Kong but Appleby revealed that his belief in the horse’s ability never wavered.

“I’ve never lost faith in this horse from his two-year-old days he showed such supreme natural speed. He is a horse that holds a track record over here at six (furlongs),” said the trainer.

“He is becoming more of a travelled horse now. He has campaigned in Europe, Dubai and went to Hong Kong and has come back to Europe again so he is gaining the experience that will put him in good stead for a race like The Everest.”

Appleby has developed a knack of knowing which horses will adapt to Australian conditions, having won the Sydney Cup with Polarisation in 2017 while also enjoying regular success in Melbourne.

Many of the slot holders, including the Australian Turf Club, yet to lock in a runner have also publicly commented on their admiration for fellow Godolphin sprinter Harry Angel, as well as the racing giant’s local star Kementari.

James Ross, the ATC’s General Manager of Racing, Wagering and International, revealed on Sky Sports Radio that Harry Angel, who is set to run on Saturday night (Australian time) at Royal Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes against Redkirk Warrior, is one of the top seeds to fill the ATC slot.

“He has proven to be one of the top sprinters out of Europe so the Diamond Jubilee will be a very interesting race from an Everest perspective. He has a particularly high rating so he’ll be a frontrunner from our perspective,” Ross said.

“We have been talking to Charlie and are in very active conversations. Due to some Dubai commitments with his horses he remained in Dubai and didn’t attend the Sydney carnival but was obviously successful in our previous carnival.

“We have been very active in the international space this year. Our charter has always been to bring a different dimension to the race and that starts primarily with looking as far and wide as we can.”

Ross said he’d also be keeping a close eye on Equilateral, to be ridden by James McDonald, in Friday’s Commonwealth Cup before adding that Lady Aurelia hadn’t been ruled out despite finishing seventh in the King’s Stand Stakes.

“We had some really encouraging conversations with Wesley Ward and (owner) Barbara Banke’s agent prior to Lady Aurelia running last night and we’d still like to continue those conversations depending on how she pulls up. I don’t think we saw the best of her last night,” said Ross.

Blue Point is rated a $51 chance to win The Everest in October with TAB Fixed Odds while Harry Angel is $15 and Kementari $11.

Tickets for The Everest are on sale now – starting from just $25 for early birds.