Royal Ascot 2019 was a spectacular meeting full of talking points on and off the track, but equine-wise even double Gold Cup winner Stradivarius would struggle to keep Blue Point out of the headlines after his incredible double-win during the week, with his owner and trainer now announcing that he is to be retired to stud.
Trainer Charlie Appleby has made it public that he is more than happy to let Blue Point go now, given that he goes out while he’s on top in a division in which that can change in an instant on the track.
The five-year-old came into the meeting with two Group 1 wins to his name and amazingly finished the racing week with four. Having repeated the feat of fending off sprinting superstar Battaash for the second year in a row to claim back-to-back King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday, his trainer remained coy on plans but left him in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
It became clear on Thursday when the final declarations were made that The Boys in Blue had hatched a plan to allow Blue Point to attempt to become the first horse since Aussie sprinter Choisir back in 2003 to win both races in the same week.
In this case, he became the first to do it since they both became Group 1 events, just about lasting home on Saturday from the closing Dream of Dreams to rapturous applause from the crowd.
Since the meeting closed, Charlie Appleby has spoken with Sheikh Mohammed and both parties have agreed that now is the right time to retire Blue Point from racing. He will stand at Dalham Hall Stud with a fee for his services naturally yet to be set.
He will now attempt to emulate the feats at stud achieved by his sire Shamardal. In the era of Galileo, Dubawi Frankel and most recently Kingman, Shamardal was in danger of being forgotten as a sire of major Group performers but this Royal Ascot has changed all that.
As well as Blue Point, major performing offspring of Shamardal at the Royal meeting included Jubiloso, Pinatubo, and Cape Byron while Hello Youmzain is out of a Shamardal mare. Despite the sire having been a great miler, both Cape Byron and Blue Point on Saturday were striking six-furlong winners so it remains to be seen what types are produced at stud.
Blue Point really enjoyed Ascot as well as Meydan over in Dubai, wins at these tracks helping to get his career earnings to over £2.6million.
Back in 2017 he was part of a vintage looking Commonwealth Cup as he, Harry Angel and Caravaggio fought out the finish but it was as a five-year-old he truly excelled. Including his winning run at the Dubai Carnival, he has won five out of five this year meaning that while to the casual observer it seems early enough to retire him, in fact he has done more than enough and deserves a rest now before taking up his new duties next year.