Pinatubo Masters Dewhurst Test

4th at NEW, Gr. Stk, £533,750G1 Darley Dewhurst S. (7f)Winner: Pinatubo (Ire), c, 2 by Shamardal


With the ground riding softer than it had for him throughout his momentous campaign, Godolphin’s juvenile champion elect Pinatubo (Ire) (Shamardal) had to sit a different examination in Saturday’s G1 Darley Dewhurst S. at Newmarket and despite brief moments of anxiety it was ultimately a familiar outcome. Racing with more in front than behind early, the 1-3 favourite never drew William Buick into any kind of panic and the operation’s ace rider simply cajoled the G1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National S. hero past the long-time leader Arizona (Ire) (No Nay Never) with a furlong remaining. From there, the writing was on the wall despite the tenacious effort of the runner-up and at the line there was a comfortable two-length margin separating them and another 2 3/4 lengths back to Wichita (Ire) (No Nay Never) in third. “It is a relief,” Charlie Appleby said in the immediate aftermath. “We all saw last weekend with Enable what it means to the public and they are all behind this horse, so we can keep the dream alive for the winter.”

Always a step ahead of the fellow Godolphin 2-year-old luminary Earthlight (Ire) (Shamardal) during his impressive season, Pinatubo may have to tackle Andre Fabre’s top dog over an extra furlong back here in May in a 2000 Guineas to savour if the powers that be allow it to happen. Proven on all surfaces, having ploughed through this trying turf with the same power that he lowered Ascot’s seven-furlong juvenile track record in the June 22 Listed Chesham S., it is difficult to expose any holes in the epitome of a 2-year-old champion. This was always going to be a sterner test than the National that he proved so dominant in four weeks ago, with Aidan O’Brien set on delivering some of his choice colts at a peak and so it proved.

Arizona, who had acted temporarily as the division leader after his G2 Coventry S. success and who had been gradually building towards this performance with a fourth in the G1 Prix Morny and third in the National, was in front from the outset under Seamie Heffernan who is always dangerous on the lead. Ballydoyle’s number one representative, the impressive G3 Tattersalls S. scorer Wichita, was waiting just in behind along with TDN Rising Star Monarch of Egypt (American Pharoah) as the stable created a fortress for Pinatubo to raid. There were brief spells when the Godolphin kingpin looked in trouble, but much has been made of his lazy racing style and on this ground it was even more exaggerated. As Buick inched closer to Arizona out wide, it was a case of awaiting the inevitable and with competition to engage him up the rising ground he rose to the challenge with typical relish.

Buick, who has only been back in action for just under 2 1/2 months after his injury and who had partnered the winner for the first time only at The Curragh, is instantly in sync with the stable’s new star. “He was spectacular last time, but on this ground you were never going to get a performance like that,” he explained. “He really did show his brilliance today, as the ground is tough. There were some proper horses in there who brought good form to the table and it was a different test for him–a stamina test. He made up the ground on Arizona very easily and is a jockey’s dream. He’s a fast horse with a quick action, but he also has a great mind and  only the brilliant ones can overcome ground like today.”

Appleby added, “He’s all heart and I was confident even though he didn’t travel into it as well as he can. It is testament to the horse, as the ground is soft and it’s fantastic to get the result. Horses like him that lower themselves into the ground can get caught out in the dip here, so I told William to hold on to him as long as he could. It was nice that he was galloping out late on and being authoritative and it’s great for all the team and Sheikh Mohammed who is here. Thankfully, he’s not let anybody down and at the end of the day I think these were the best around that he beat here. He’s danced every dance and we are learning as much about his characteristics as the viewing public as he shows nothing at home and just sleeps and eats. We haven’t decided where he will winter yet, but it’s a nice discussion to have and I’d be happy to start in the Guineas without a prep race.”

Whether Pinatubo stays further than a mile remains to be seen, but the distance of 2020’s first Classic seems well within his reach and there will be several surprised people if he fails to see it out. His dam Lava Flow (Ire) (Dalakhani {Ire}), a half-sister to the G1 Gran Criterium runner-up Strobilus (GB) (Mark of Esteem {Ire}), was able to win the 11-furlong Listed Prix de la Seine while the second dam Mount Elbrus (GB) (Barathea {Ire}) also scored at listed level at 10 1/2 furlongs and is out of a half-sister to the G1 Prix de Diane heroine and outstanding producer Rafha (GB) (Kris {GB}).

Pinatubo’s connection with the influential sire Invincible Spirit (Ire) and another important sire in Kodiac (GB) makes him an even greater prospect in that sphere than he already is by racecourse achievement alone. His dynasty also features the G1 Pretty Polly S. heroine Chinese White (Ire) by Lava Flow’s sire Dalakhani, the G1 Inglis Sires and G1 Blue Diamond S. hero Pride of Dubai (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}) and the likes of Gustav Klimt (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and James Garfield (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}). Lava Flow’s yearling filly is by Sea the Stars (Ire), while she also has a filly foal by Teofilo (Ire).

Saturday, Newmarket, Britain
DARLEY DEWHURST S.-G1, £533,750, Newmarket, 10-12, 2yo, 7fT, 1:26.55, sf.
1–PINATUBO (IRE), 127, c, 2, by Shamardal
1st Dam: Lava Flow (Ire) (SW-Fr), by Dalakhani (Ire)
2nd Dam: Mount Elbrus (GB), by Barathea (Ire)
3rd Dam: El Jazirah (GB), by Kris (GB)
O/B-Godolphin (IRE); T-Charlie Appleby; J-William Buick. £302,690. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Ire, 6-6-0-0, $892,254. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Arizona (Ire), 127, c, 2, No Nay Never–Lady Ederle, by English Channel. (65,000gns Wlg ’17 TATFOA; €260,000 Ylg ’18 ARAUG). O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Stephen Sullivan (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. £114,756.
3–Wichita (Ire), 127, c, 2, No Nay Never–Lumiere Noire (Fr), by Dashing Blade (GB). (140,000gns Ylg ’18 TAOCT). O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-W Maxwell Ervine (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. £57,432.
Margins: 2, 2 3/4, 2. Odds: 0.30, 14.00, 3.50.
Also Ran: Year of the Tiger (Ire), Monarch of Egypt, Positive (GB), Mystery Power (Ire), Royal Commando (Ire), Iffraaz (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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