News13 June 2024

'Let's hope he's half as good' - James Doyle impressed after Aomori City emulates Blue Point on Nottingham debut

James Doyle : back in action next week 
James Doyle: "He was faultless - first day at school he passed every test" Credit: Mark Cranham

Aomori City is following in hallowed hoofprints and has a long way to go to match his top-class predecessor but he did make a "faultless" start in the two-year-old novice event.

Godolphin won this 6f novice contest in 2016 with a Charlie Appleby-trained newcomer bought for a six-figure sum who scored by half a length on his debut.

That winner turned out to be Blue Point, a top-class sprinter who went on to land a Group 1 double in the King's Stand Stakes and Diamond Jubilee Stakes under James Doyle at Royal Ascot.

This year's winner was Aomori City, a €260,000 colt who emulated that half-length success for the same owner and trainer eight years on.

Doyle was on board this time and when asked the inevitable question about whether there were any similarities with the sprint superstar, he stressed: "It's too early to tell — let's hope he's half as good, that would be nice."

Aomori City and Intrusively pulled fully 12 lengths clear of the rest and Doyle added: "That was a pleasing start. His work was nice and he'd worked with some winners. It was lovely and straightforward. He has a lovely attitude.

"He was probably left in front a long way out but he showed a good attitude to fend off the second horse. They're two probably quite nice animals. It felt like we quickened well and galloped out strong.

"He was faultless — first day at school he passed every test."

Blue Point wins the 2018 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot
Blue Point wins the 2018 King's Stand Stakes at Royal AscotCredit: Edward Whitaker

Doyle, who also won the mile maiden on Indemnity, will be on board the pick of Wathnan Racing's two-year-olds at Royal Ascot next week.

Asked which he was most looking forward to, he said: "Catalyse worked very nicely the other morning; whether he's quite good enough to win the Coventry I'm not sure and Aidan O'Brien's horses look pretty smart. Shadow Army will run in the Windsor Castle and he worked really nicely the other morning."

He singled out Jersey Stakes contender Haatem as his best hope overall and said: "He'll be the shortest-priced of all of ours, I'd imagine. He's dual Guineas-placed. While it's not ideal dropping back a furlong he's not short of speed and he travels strongly."

Hardy winner set for quick return 

Great Blasket came from behind to land the £18,000 mile handicap under Hollie Doyle and is now set to bid for a fifth victory of the year in a £100,000 contest at Sandown on Saturday.

"We'll check him over tomorrow but as long as he comes out of the race okay I can't think why he wouldn't take his chance," said joint-trainer Jamie Insole. "He's a very hardy horse.

"He won first time for us and we probably didn't know how to ride him the next few times on the all-weather. Kieran Shoemark won on him at Southwell, where we said we'd drop him out and try to get there as late as possible, and since then he's won four from five. The change of tactics has definitely worked in his favour.

"I think stepping up to higher grade races suits him down to the ground, a harder pace and better quality of horses gives him a better target to aim at."

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