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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

3.30 Newmarket, Saturday, September 24

The defection of Caravaggio from the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (3.30) at Newmarket on Saturday has left Blue Point (2.2) as the hot favourite for the Group 1 event. Charlie Appleby’s Shamardal colt has tasted defeat just once in his short career, when going down by a neck to Mehmas in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood on his penultimate start, after hanging right in the closing stages, but resumed winning ways when quickening clear to beat Mokarris by 3 lengths in the Gimcrack Stakes at York five weeks ago.

Mehmas had previously been put firmly in his place by Caravaggio in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and subsequently proved no match for Churchill in the National Stakes, over 7 furlongs, at the Curragh last Sunday, so it would be fair to say that Aidan O’Brien has a pretty good line to the form. The Master of Ballydoyle has entered both Intelligence Cross, third in the Richmond Stakes, and Peace Envoy, a never-nearer third of five, beaten a length, behind Lady Aurelia in the Prix Morny at Deauville last month.

Intelligence Cross was disappointing in the Richmond Stakes, but had previously been beaten just half a length by Mehmas in the July Stakes at Newmarket and easily won the Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh last month, while Peace Envoy arguably has the best single piece of form in the race, on paper, and appears to have been underestimated by the bookmakers. To cut a long story short, three or four of these appeal as likely winners, so laying Blue Point, at the shortest price available, on Betfair is the recommended play this week, provided Mehmas, Intelligence Cross and Peace Envoy all stand their ground at the final declaration stage on Thursday.