Blue Point focused on Al-Quoz glory after magical run at Meydan

William Buick on Blue Point celebrates winning the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot 2018. Godolphin’s star turn repeated the feat in the G2 Meydan Sprint. (Reuters)
Updated 15 February 2019

Blue Point focused on Al-Quoz glory after magical run at Meydan

  • Star sprinter proves class with easy G2 win in Dubai.
  • Charlie Appleby hopeful over Al-Quoz Sprint chances.

LONDON: Star sprinter Blue Point is on course for glory in the much-anticipated Al-Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night. That is the message from Godolphin after a brilliant victory in the G2 Meydan Sprint on Thursday.
The Dubai-based stable have long held high hopes for the Shamardal horse and the five-year-old’s win confirmed that they have something special on their hands.
Blue Point took up the running from Faatinah with more than two furlongs to race and readily opened up daylight over his rivals approaching the final furlong, quickly going clear.
For Charlie Appleby the performance only went to prove that Blue Point has it in him to steal the show on Dubai World Cup night in March.
“If he brought his class, he was going to be good enough to win, but we had left a bit on him because the G1 Al-Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night is our target,” the Godolphin trainer said.
“No disrespect to this race, and we were pleased to win it, but it was the right stepping stone onto the Al-Quoz.
“I was pleased to see him in the paddock, more so than a couple of days ago when it looked like he had a couple of pounds left on him. He had tightened up a bit.
“We were always confident that he was going to come forward for whatever he did. He is a five-year-old now and a professional — getting better with racing. He came alive two furlongs down and it was only a matter of William asking him to pick up and do a bit of work.”
The “Boys in Blue” always place a lot of focus on the World Cup night and a second win in the Al-Quoz sprint — Appleby saddled Jungle Cat to victory last year — is one of the aims for the famous race meeting in March.
“I am very pleased and, all being well, he should step forward for it and all roads will now lead to the Al-Quoz Sprint,” Appleby said.
“I feel that he is not overly exposed as a sprinter — we looked after him as a two-year-old and a three-year-old, while he wasn’t over-raced last year so he is entitled still to be learning.”
Added to the optimism surrounding Blue Point is the fact that William Buick feels he is coming to form at just the right time.
“It was a nice comeback opportunity for Blue Point and he did it very comfortably, doing everything right. It was lovely to see him come back like that,” the jockey said. “He has probably matured a little bit compared to 12 months ago and the biggest difference this year is that he is a G1 winner this time. He had proved himself and feels like a very confident horse — there is no question that he is a top sprinter.”
Meanwhile, Godolphin’s star G1 performers Hartnell, Best Of Days and Alizee have been entered for the world’s richest mile race, the $5 million All-Star Mile to be run at Flemington on March 16.
Head trainer James Cummings confirmed that all three horses will seek a place in the famous race.
“We think it’s great the way in which it really engages with not only the racing audience, but potentially reaching out beyond just that and bringing in a wider audience from not only Australia, but from around the world,” Cummings said. “We’re really excited to be a part of the richest mile race anywhere in the world.”

Three Germany fans filmed shouting racist abuse at Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan turn themselves in

Updated 56 min 38 sec ago

Three Germany fans filmed shouting racist abuse at Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan turn themselves in

  • Alleged abuse took place during Germany’s 1-1 draw with Serbia in Wolfsburg on Wednesday
  • Men accused of chanting “Heil Hitler” and shouted “we need another small Austrian.”

WOLFSBURG:Three men who shouted racist abuse at Germany’s Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan during the friendly with Serbia turned themselves in after another fan posted a video on Facebook, police said Friday.

After the images, taken during Germany’s 1-1 draw with Serbia in Wolfsburg on Wednesday, appeared online, “they presented themselves and confessed they were the three alleged perpetrators,” confirmed local police spokesman Thomas Figge.

“They gave a preliminary statement presenting their version of events.”

Another supporter, identified by German tabloid Bild as Andre Voigt, a journalist who had gone to the match as a fan, filmed the trio insulting Manchester City players Sane, whose father is from Senegal, and Gundogan, the son of Turkish immigrants.

The German Football Association on Friday condemned the verbal attacks in the “strongest terms” and said it would ban from matches any perpetrators confirmed to have made the chants.

Voigt said the men had chanted “Heil Hitler” and shouted “we need another small Austrian.”

“Every time Sane touched the ball, they insulted his color. Gundogan was insulted as a Turk. They spoke in pseudo-Turkish accents every time he had the ball. And then they’d start again with ‘black, black, black!’“

The men are aged between 30 and 40, said Figge.

“The police will continue their investigation into incitement to hate and send the file to the prosecutor’s office early next week,” said the police spokesman.

Gundogan, along with Mesut Ozil, was the center of controversy before the World Cup for posing for a photo alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Midfielder Leon Goretzka said those responsible for the chants must be dealt with accordingly.

“The video shocked me and decisive action has to be taken against it,” said the 24-year-old Bayern Munich player.

“We stand for diversity, integration should be a matter of course, I can only call on everyone to act with a lot of courage and put people like that in their place.”