Point To Prove

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‘TDN Rising Star’ Blue Point | Racing Post

Newmarket’s July meeting culminates on Saturday with the G1 Darley July Cup, where Royal Ascot form is put to the test as it has been repeatedly over the past two days. Godolphin’s ‘TDN Rising Star’ Blue Point (Ire) (Shamardal) bids to become the first to complete the G1 King’s Stand S.-July Cup double since Never So Bold (Ire) in 1985. Ordinarily, possessing the kind of pace to overhaul the lightening rod Battaash (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) over five would counter prospects over this stiff six, but we already know that Charlie Appleby’s 4-year-old stays this distance as he proved when winning the G2 Gimcrack S. on rain-softened ground at York in 2016 and when taking Ascot’s G3 Pavilion S. last May. “There’s every indication he’s come forward again for the race at Ascot,” Appleby commented. “Conditions are there to suit him on Saturday. He’s got a nice draw and he’s got the right horses around him. There are no worries with him stepping back up to six furlongs and it will be nice quick ground. I don’t see a negative.”

Of the 3-year-olds, Shadwell’s Eqtidaar (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) bids to confirm the form of the Royal meeting’s G1 Commonwealth Cup with runner-up Sands of Mali (Fr) (Panis) and provide Sir Michael Stoute with a fourth renewal. All three of the master of Freemason Lodge’s previous winners were the same age, with Ajdal the last to do so in 1987. “He’s got to go up another notch now,” the operation’s racing manager Angus Gold said. “We’re still learning about the horse. Everybody else was surprised by him at Ascot. We weren’t particularly surprised, in that his work has always been very good at home. Jim [Crowley] was very adamant the horse would improve with his racing.”

Also at Royal Ascot was U S Navy Flag (War Front) and like Ballydoyle’s last winner of this Mozart (Ire) in 2001 is dropping back from a mile. Like that sprinting sensation, he was runner-up in the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh on May 25 but unlike him he stayed at a mile for the G1 St James’s Palace S. on June 19. Ninth there after attempting a Frankel-like show of force from the front, he is one of five to represent Aidan O’Brien along with the Commonwealth Cup disappointment Sioux Nation (Scat Daddy).

A Superlative Lineup…

Supporting the July Cup is the G2 Superlative S., which features another Godolphin ‘TDN Rising Star’ in the impressive six-furlong course debut winner Quorto (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}). The runner-up in that June 22 novice contest Handmaiden (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) did not let the form down here on Thursday and being a son of the dual Oaks-placed Volume (GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}) improvement is expected in this race his sire won in 2004. “I was very pleased with Quorto’s first start and he came out of the race very well,” Charlie Appleby commented. “We feel that the step up to seven furlongs is going to be to his liking, as he is by Dubawi and stoutly-bred on his dam’s side. He is one of a few of our 2-year-old colts who was able to win over six furlongs at this stage of the season–a lot of our colts are more likely to be seen over seven furlongs or a mile later on in the year. Hopefully, it’s the sign that he is a nice horse and we are looking forward to seeing how he copes with the step up to group level.”

Aidan O’Brien, who took this with Gustav Klimt (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), relies on last week’s Tipperary conditions winner Cape of Good Hope (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), a full-brother to Highland Reel (Ire) who will probably be asked to force the pace as he was there.

Also on the card, the Rossdales British EBF Maiden Fillies’ S. has been a source of future Group 1 talent in recent times and Godolphin’s Assembly of Truth (Ire) (Shamardal) has key form after finishing third behind Friday’s ultra-impressive Cherry Hinton winner Pretty Pollyanna (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) on debut at Yarmouth on June 14.

New Look For Eminent…

Elsewhere on a typically busy midsummer Saturday, Ascot’s G2 Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile sees last year’s G1 Irish Champion S. third Eminent (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) drop down from a mile and a quarter in a bid to arrest a recent major downturn in his fortunes. “We’ll drop him in trip and class slightly. He had good form over a mile as a 3-year-old and hopefully it will be a confidence run for him,” trainer Martyn Meade said. “Hopefully he has a nice time and comes back to his old form, which he hasn’t shown in his first couple of runs this season.” The Royal meeting’s G1 Queen Anne S. is put under the microscope, with the second, fourth and sixth Lord Glitters (Fr) (Whipper), Century Dream (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}) and Beat the Bank (GB) (Paco Boy {Ire}) re-opposing. The latter’s trainer Andrew Balding said, “He was only beaten just over a length and a half [in the Queen Anne] and didn’t have a hard race. I think he had legitimate excuses for his last couple of runs. He is in good form and if he gets a clear run at Ascot, I would hope he will be in the mix.”

The meeting’s Woodford Reserve H. over 12 furlongs was won in 2015 by Dartmouth (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and another potential group performer lurking here is George Strawbridge’s Listed Lingfield Derby Trial third Corelli (Point of Entry), a half-brother to the connections’ G1 St Leger hero Lucarno (Dynaformer).

National Pride…

ParisLongchamp sees the Bastille Day fixture the day before France step out for the World Cup Final and national hopes in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris rest on the Andre Fabre-trained Folamour (GB) (Intello {Ger}), the Wertheimers’ June 28 course maiden winner who bids to provide his stable with a 14th renewal, and Gerard Augustin-Normand’s May 27 G3 Prix du Lys scorer Neufbosc (Fr) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}). They encounter the G1 Epsom Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee (GB) (Farhh {GB}), who was seventh in the G1 Irish Derby a fortnight ago but Charlie Johnston is expecting better here. “The horse came out of Ireland well and we’re looking forward to it. He should have a very strong chance,” his father’s assistant said. “It will be interesting to see exactly what the ground is like when we get over there. They were telling us at declaration stage on Thursday it was good-to-soft, so they must have watered plenty. We’ll just have to see what it’s like when we get there. If he runs to the level of his Epsom run, he should win.”

In the Listed Prix de Thiberville, ‘TDN Rising Star’ Zarkamiya (Fr) (Frankel {GB}), the daughter of Zarkava (Ire) (Zamindar), reappears having been freshened up by Alain de Royer-Dupre since her fourth at Chantilly May 18 and she meets another ‘TDN Rising Star’ in Qatar Racing, Ecurie des Monceaux and Barbara Keller’s Enchanting Skies (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) from the Andre Fabre stable.

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