Wednesday 21 February 2018

'Point' can show why he's rated high in Appleby's eye

Trainer Charlie Appleby. Photo: Getty Images
Trainer Charlie Appleby. Photo: Getty Images

Nick Robson

Gimcrack winner Blue Point could give a pointer to the English 2,000 Guineas claims of Churchill today when he runs in the Merriebelle Stable Pavilion Stakes at Ascot.

Charlie Appleby's Shamardal colt was last seen finishing a length-and-three-parts behind Aidan O'Brien's ante-post favourite in the Dewhurst Stakes. Blue Point was also placed in the Middle Park and is being trained with a sprinting campaign in mind.

"I am delighted with Blue Point, who wintered well in Dubai. He has done all I have asked of him to date and I have been pleased with his preparation," said Appleby. "He showed a lot of natural speed as a two-year-old and this race is a good starting point."

Clive Cox has two very nice youngsters engaged but his only regret is that Harry Angel and Tis Marvellous have to take each on so early in the season.

Harry Angel won the Mill Reef last season on just his second start, while Tis Marvellous claimed the Prix Robert Papin in France.

"They've both got identical ratings, though Harry Angel is carrying a penalty," said Cox. "I'm hoping they are both on the path towards the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot but as there are such limited options before it, they are having to run against each other already."

Feature event on the card is the Sagaro Stakes in which Classic hero Harbour Law should get the job done on his return to competitive action.

Last season's Doncaster St Leger winner must give away weight to his seven rivals in this Group Three contest over two miles, but this powerfully-built animal still has a cracking chance.

It will be an "emotional" afternoon for connections as Tom Queally replaces George Baker in the saddle after the latter suffered a serious injury following a fall on the ice at St Moritz.

It is only a year since Harbour Law opened his account in a Salisbury maiden, after which he made breathless strides through the ranks.

Although the son of Lawman suffered defeat in both the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot and Newmarket's Bahrain Trophy, he was learning on the job and showed his true ability on Town Moor in September.

While Pallasator rates a danger, the likelihood is that Harbour Law could have developed into an even better horse as a four-year-old.

Ennaadd can get back to winning ways in the Rundle's Paradise Stakes over one mile. Roger Varian's charge is not rated as highly as 113 on a whim, and though he could not continue his winning spree on All-Weather Finals Day, he was only beaten two lengths by Sovereign Debt.

Ennaadd suffered traffic problems that day, too, while the languid gallop also did him no favours. Even in a spite of having to give weight away, the four-year-old should be well up for this and can oblige at the expense of chief rivals Mondialiste and Algaith.

Irish Independent

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