Charlie Appleby has nominated Blue Point in the G1 Commonwealth Cup on Friday, June 23 as his stable’s best chance at Royal Ascot next week.
Appleby, who expects to have around 20 runners over the five days, is pleased with the progress shown by the sharp Shamardal colt.
“He has done particularly well since winning the G3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot, and the Commonwealth has been his target since last Autumn,” Appleby pointed out.
In the Pavilion Stakes, Blue Point beat Harry Angel by a length and a half when in receipt of 4lb. The latter has since been purchased by Godophin and will reoppose.
Blue Point finished a respectable third to Churchill in the G1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last October, and although only beaten a length and three-quarters, the run indicated he would be better suited to sprinting.
“My view was that it was better to find out early, rather than running in Classic trials and then having to come back in distance mid-season,” Appleby explained.
“Blue Point has always been at the top table. He knows nothing else, and he has never been out of the first three in seven starts. He is my best chance next week,” he added.
Appleby also mentioned Frontiersman, runner-up in Epsom’s G1 Coronation Cup, as a major hope in the G2 Hardwicke Stakes, which promises to be one of the most interesting all week.
“He is still very raw,” Appleby said. “He has come out of Epsom very well and is going the right way at present.
“It was a big step up for him in the Coronation Cup, as he is very babyish in some ways. But he coped, and I feel he will be more comfortable back on a conventional course such as Ascot.
“A major factor in his favour is that he has proven himself competitive in G1 company, and often you need to be a G1 horse to win the Hardwicke,” he said.
Other key prospects flagged up by Appleby are Culturati in the Wokingham Handicap, Endless Time in the G1 Gold Cup, as well as Masar in the Listed Chesham Stakes.