WILLIAM BUICK has led the tributes to superstar sprinter Blue Point after the multiple Royal Ascot winner was retired to stud with nothing left to prove.
The jockey was in the saddle when Blue Point broke York’s course record when landing the Gimcrack Stakes in 2016 for trainer Charlie Appleby.
He also won the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last year on the Godolphin-owned horses as well as three high-profile races in Dubai this year.
However, a concussion injury meant Buick’s great friend James Doyle was in the saddle when Blue Point won both the King’s Stand Stakes and Diamond Jubilee Stakes in four momentous days last week.
Just the third horse in history to complete the Royal Ascot sprint double, Godolphin ruler Sheikh Mohammed has brought forward the five-year-old horse’s retirement from the end of this year so that the colt can prepare for a new career as a stallion.
“Blue Point was a horse with an abundance of pure, raw speed. He was incredibly fast – the fastest horse I’ve ever ridden,” Buick told the Racing Post.
He’s a horse very close to my heart, he’s never let us down. He’s been a true champion.Charlie Appleby
“He showed it at home from the start and I remember when I won the Gimcrack on him at York, he broke the track record and felt awesome. Incredibly he got quicker through his career. He had an immense amount of class and a huge amount of courage and resilience. He was also blessed by a fantastic constitution.”
Buick witnessed both the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday – and then the six furlong Diamond Jubilee Stakes four days later. “I was very glad I was at Royal Ascot last week for both of his races, because I do feel a responsibility towards the horse,” he added.
His sentiments were echoed by the aforementioned Appleby who said: “Even from his two-year-old days, winning the Gimcrack and being placed in multiple Group Ones, he’s been top-class.
“He’s a horse very close to my heart, being there from the start, and it’s not often you get horses who impress you so much in a morning that do the same in the afternoon, but he’s never let us down. He’s been a true champion.”
Appleby also confirmed that last year’s Derby hero Masar will continue his comeback in next month’s Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket after being unplaced in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot – his first run since landing the Epsom Classic.
Defending champion Withhold is among 42 horses to stand their ground for the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday. The Roger Charlton-trained gelding made all when comfortably landing the spoils 12 months ago.
Chester Cup hero Making Miracles is one of four possibles from Middleham trainer Mark Johnston’s stable – along with Austrian School, prolific winner King’s Advice and Bayshore Freeway, who was successful at Pontefract on Sunday.
Somerset trainer Alexandra Dunn is optimistic Waqt and Gendarme will make their presence felt at Beverley today.
Waqt, a five-year-old son of Acclamation, has held his form honourably all season and was a last-time-out scorer at Brighton June 7.
And though he has received an 8lb rise for that four-and-a-half-length triumph, Dunn expects another big show in the seven-and-a-half-furlong handicap.
Stablemate Gendarme has also done well this year following his transfer from Richard Hannon’s yard in February.
The four-year-old son of Lawman has won twice since his switch to Dunn’s yard and arrives at Beverley on the back of an authoritative success at Chepstow 17 days ago.