Blue Point asserted his dominance over Battaash in a renewed battle in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old beat Battaash last year and repeated its victory on Tuesday afternoon to become the fourth horse to win the day’s feature race twice in the modern era.
There was little between the two market leaders once they edged ahead of the staying pack, but James Doyle found an extra gear and Blue Point won comfortably.
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The 5/2 chance won by just over a length, with Soldier’s Call finishing in third ahead of Mabs Cross to prevent an identical finish to 12 months ago.
Appleby was concerned by the ground, which was officially ‘good’ although the final race was ‘soft’, but feels the victory in the rain adds to his “fantastic” victory.
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“I was concerned the ground might get too soft for him, but it can rain as much as it likes now!” Appleby said.
“We’ve all been very much involved in this horse. It’s great for William (Buick) being here and the team at home have done a fantastic job with this horse.
“To do back-to-back wins in this race is fantastic, as I knew he’s going to have a great career at stud when he retires at the end of the season.
“During the winter we saw how much more professional he was. He’s strengthened and when William got off him after his first start in Dubai he said he was a different animal. He’s the finished article now.
“I’ve got a great team behind me and it’s great for Sheikh Mohammed and his family being here.
“We’ll give him a little break and work back from the Abbaye at some stage.”
Earlier in the day, it took Aidan O’Brein just two races to register his first winner in this year’s event. 15/8 favourite Arizona held off the well-fancied Threat in the Coventry Stakes, the first of two wins.
O’Brein showed his eye for a horse when he decided to drop Circus Maximus down a trip to land the St James’s Palace Stakes. The Galileo colt needed to be supplemented at a cost of £45,000 for the one mile contest after finishing sixth in the Epsom Derby earlier in the month.
It was an investment from the team that landed the £303,525 prize money for finishing first ahead of King Of Comedy and 2/1 favourite Too Darn Hot.
“Derrick (Smith), John (Magnier) and Michael (Tabor) all decided between themselves (to run in this race) and at 11.45am (on the day of supplementary entries) they let us know that they were thinking of doing this and we ran with it,” said O’Brein.
“It was a big challenge for the horse and it was a very difficult one to deal with – coming back (in trip) like that – and that’s why he had the blinkers on, because he didn’t have much time to learn.”
“In all fairness to the horse we pitched him in and asked him a difficult question. We always thought a mile and a mile and a quarter was his trip, even though we ran him in the Derby.”
14/1 Lord Glitters began the day with a win in the Queen Anne Stakes and set the tone for the favourites, with only one best-priced horse winning, Arizona.
The Grand Visir pipped Willie Mullins-trained Buildmeupbuttercup to win the Ascot Stakes and the final race was won by Addeybb, doubling jockey Daniel Tudhope’s tally after a win on Lord Glitters.
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