Can Nature Strip beat Blue Point’s Royal Ascot sprint time?

Aussie sprinters in England to target big G1s but the Sprint King's record unlikely to be challenged

Australian galloper Nature Strip is regarded by many people as the best sprinter in the world but even his incredible speed will face the “Blue Point acid test” when he lines up at the Royal Ascot festival of racing this month.

An eight-time G1 winner, plus reigning The Everest king, Nature Strip is in England preparing to tackle the G1 King’s Stand Stakes over 1,000m.

Choisir started the Aussie ball rolling in 2003, winning the G1 King’s Stand and the then G2 Golden Jubilee in the space of four days.

Takeover Target (’06), Miss Andretti (’07) and Scenic Blast (’09) all won the King’s Stand, before Starspangledbanner (’10) and the mighty Black Caviar (’12) were victorious in the renamed Diamond Jubilee.

But regardless of results this year there’s little chance Nature Strip or any Australian horse will ever challenge the record of phenomenal sprinter Blue Point, who is the only galloper in history to win three G1 sprints at Royal Ascot.

A winner of the King’s Stand in 2018, Blue Point returned 12 months later to defend his crown before adding the Diamond Jubilee Stakes a few days later.

He became the fourth-fastest winner of the King’s Stand in 159 years, running 58.14 seconds on an undulating course considered one of the toughest straight five-furlong gallops in the world.

Blue Point won 11 races and was placed six times from 20 starts, while his four G1 victories - which included the Al Quoz Sprint over 1,200m at Meydan - were complemented by five placings in Stakes grade events.

Leading English trainer Charlie Appleby felt he’d just witnessed something very special after Blue Point won his second King’s Stand.

“Coming into today’s race I knew he was in the form of his life,” Appleby said at the time.

“Last Wednesday James Doyle rode him and when he got off, he said:

‘That’s the fastest horse I’ve ridden’, and we saw what he meant today.”

Blue Point was a speed-freak, and he is now getting the chance to convert his ability on the track to success at stud.

He was fully booked in his first two seasons, covering 58 Stakes winners and 38 Stakes-producing mares in Australia.

Those include G1 winners Kenedna, Sheidel, Forensics, Gold Edition, Russeting and Anamato - the dam of Australia’s Champion Three-Year-Old, Anamoe.

In Sydney last month, Blue Point was the second-leading sire followed by Too Darn Hot at the Inglis Australian Weanling Sale at Riverside Stables.

His first two foals sold in Australia averaged $171,250, with his top colt stopping the hammer at $290,000.

Newgate Farm’s Jim Carey purchased the colt out of Lady Loire.

“He’s the first Blue Point I’ve seen and he’s a really nice colt,” Carey said.

Suman Hedge Bloodstock (FBAA) purchased a Blue Point colt for $220,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast National Weanling Sale three weeks ago, while mares in foal to Blue Point sold for as high as $750,000 at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

Other mares carrying Blue Point foals were also in high demand, fetching $550,000, $520,000, $475,000, $350,000 and $340,000 apiece.

Blue Point forged a magnificent record at Royal Ascot and he is now promising to do the same at stud.

The young stallion will stand the forthcoming southern hemisphere season at a service fee of $44,000 inc GST with under 15 nominations remaining before the book-full sign goes up, at Northwood Park, Victoria.