Blue Point declared for Diamond Jubilee as The Tin Man takes aim

The Tin Man
The Tin Man

Tuesday's King's Stand hero Blue Point is one of 18 horses declared for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

Charlie Appleby's speedball successfully defended his King's Stand crown with a tremendous performance to see off old foe Battaash on the opening day of the showpiece meeting.

The five-year-old will now bid to become the first horse since Australian raider Choisir in 2003 to win both major sprints in the same week.

Appleby saidt: "He's come out of Tuesday's race well and it was always in the back of our minds that we might do do this, but we didn't want to say too much after Tuesday's race because we wanted to see how he came out of it.

"He was obviously entered in both races and he seems to have taken the King's Stand well. He had some light exercise this morning and looks great and has eaten up - he's doing all the things you'd want him to do if you're thinking about running again a few days later.

"After discussing it with His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed), we decided we'd declare him and it still gives us another 48 hours to check everything is fine with the horse. We think he deserves to take his chance."

Among the opposition is James Fanshawe's The Tin Man

The seven-year-old won the 2017 renewal of the £600,000 six-furlong showpiece and was beaten by little more than a length into fourth last year after not getting the rub of the green. Regaining sprint titles runs in the family as Equiano, his sire, won the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2008 and 2010.

The Tin Man subsequently won the Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock last summer and he will be seeking a fourth win at the highest level on Saturday as he also won the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day in 2016.

Sky Bet First Race Special Thursday
Sky Bet First Race Special Thursday

Like 12 months ago, The Tin Man warmed up for the Royal Meeting with a run in Listed company at Windsor last month. He finished third behind Dream Of Dreams, after being sent off favourite, but Fanshawe was not despondent.

“He had a 7lb penalty and it was a messy race, plus a couple of weeks before he had a bit of muck on his chest,” the Newmarket-based trainer said. “He’s always been prone to that, it’s what the problem was in Hong Kong [when he had to miss the Kong Kong Sprint in 2017]. It’s something we always have to keep an eye on with him.

“The most important thing is that he’s had a run. He’s never been one to show you a great deal at home but he looks really well in himself and he’s in good form. You never quite know with him until you run, but I’ve been very happy with his preparation.”

The last seven-year-old to win the Diamond Jubilee was Hong Kong raider Cape Of Good Hope, in 2005, when the meeting was run at York. He has been the oldest winner since 1946 but Fanshawe is unperturbed.

“Time catches up with all of us but I’ve seen no deterioration in him and there have been plenty of very good sprinters of his age,” he said. “Good ones like him are hard to find and when you are racing at the highest level, unless they are really tough, you have to space the runs out and look after them.”

Charlie Appleby clearly considers Blue Point to be in the “really tough” category because Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes winner features among a final field of 18. The Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old, who was winning the five-furlong feature for the second time, seeks to emulate Choisir, who achieved the King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee double in 2003.

Another set to make a swift reappearance is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Le Brivido, who finished fifth behind Lord Glitters in the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday.

Invincible Army headed the ante-post betting after gaining decisive wins at Doncaster and York this season, latterly in the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes when Yafta (third) and Projection (last of the ten runners) were among the support cast.

PJ McDonald is unbeaten on two starts on the James Tate-trained four-year-old and said: “He’s done nothing wrong this year. On that Duke of York run he doesn’t need a whole lot more to be competitive in Group 1 company and I’m sure he can improve again as that was only his second run of the year.

“For me, he’s the least exposed horse in the race. The rest are very good, battle-hardened horses who are more than capable of doing their job on the day, but I would like to think our horse is improving. Mentally, he is in the exact place you would want a sprinter to be and has his team in great order. There’s a great buzz about the yard.”

McDonald added: “I’ve only sat on Invincible Army three times: before he went to Doncaster, at Doncaster, and then York. I’ve been very lucky to have got on him at the right time and that both occasions I’ve ridden him on the track everything has gone to plan.

“He switches off, takes up his position and seems to have a very good turn of foot and he doesn’t stop. When I gave him a squeeze at York he came alive underneath me and showed me what he is capable of. Ascot should suit him – he’s a winner there – and you have to remember James has always held this horse in high regard. You can never put your life on pedigrees but his suggests this year should be his best if he is going to follow his mum and dad.”

There is a strong international challenge with City Light, the runner-up last year, representing France. Bound For Nowhere, third 12 months ago, will try and give American trainer Wesley Ward a second success in the race after hitting the target with Undrafted in 2015. Lim’s Cruiser will fly the flag for Singapore, while Enzo’s Lad, from New Zealand, makes a swift reappearance after finishing down the field behind Blue Point in the King’s Stand Stakes.

Sands Of Mali is a confirmed track specialist, landing the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes in October, when he had Donjuan Triumphant back in third, after earlier finishing runner-up in the Commonwealth Cup, when he had Emblazoned, Invincible Army and Speak In Colours behind.

Kachy, runner-up in the 2016 Commonwealth Cup, will be running at the Royal Meeting for the fourth successive year, while Tip Two Win, runner-up in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas last year, makes his seasonal reappearance. Keystroke, 66/1 winner of the Group 3 Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes at Newmarket last time, completes the field.


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