Pinatubo crowns his season at Newmarket for a perfect six from six
The Darley Dewhurst Stakes was the feature race of the Newmarket’s Future Champions Festival and with the star unbeaten two year old Pinatubo lining up in Sheikh Mohammed’s blue silks the race had the quality its rich history was worthy of.
Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore operation were not going to hand the race on a plate to Pinatubo and fielded four against him while Clive Cox’s Positive was also fancied in the market to put up some resistance.
Last time out Pinatubo had gone to Ireland and made a procession of the National Stakes, winning by 9 lengths. The ground that day was recorded as good to firm but conditions were very different here after persistent overnight rain had changed the going from good to soft to soft, a surface Pinatubo had yet to encounter.
In the race Pinatubo was settled behind the leaders, racing away from the stands side o the centre of the course. O’Brien’s Arizona, third behind Pinatubo at the Curragh, took up the running, one off the rail. Inside the final two furlongs Arizona was still going well in the lead and Buick was now at work on Pinatubo.
Approaching the final furlong the race lay between this pair and it briefly looked like Arizona was going to make a real fight of it but Pinatubo was now in full flight and stretched clear, winning by two lengths at the finish. Arizona finished second with Wichita, whom O’Brien had supplemented for the race a never dangerous third.
It was Pinatubo’s sixth win in a flawless two year old campaign and trainer Charlie Appleby was quick to praise the colt after the race, “he’s a special horse,” said Appleby. “He showed great courage and had to dig deep. Will gave him a fantastic ride and once it came to the fight he wasn’t going to lie down.”
Sheikh Mohammed was clearly delighted to win the race sponsored by his breeding organisation and gave an uncharacteristic celebratory dance on the winner’s podium. “He is a very good horse who will go on to produce good horses. The Shamardals are very fast. I will be looking forward to seeing him next year”, Sheikh Mohammed said, clearly excited by the prospect of what the colt might achieve at three.
Paddy Power left Pinatubo unchanged at 11/10 favourite in their 2,000 Guineas ante-post market.
O’Brien felt his colts were possibly unsuited by the soft ground and was hopeful that they would be back in May to contest the season’s first classic and take on Pinatubo once again.