Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

Charlie Appleby 'optimistic' Pinatubo will deliver European classic double for Godolphin

After Victor Ludorum triumphed in the French 2000 Guineas, Pinatubo will be bidding to emulate that feat in the English equivalent at Newmarket on Saturday

Pinatubo, ridden by William Buick, right, wins The Darley Dewhurst Stakes during Day Two of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket Racecourse. PA Wire
Pinatubo, ridden by William Buick, right, wins The Darley Dewhurst Stakes during Day Two of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket Racecourse. PA Wire

Godolphin are aiming to complete a European classic double after racing in France and Britain returned from the Covid-19 lockdown.

After Victor Ludorum triumphed in the French 2000 Guineas, Pinatubo will be bidding to emulate that feat in the English equivalent at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo is undefeated in six starts and is the red-hot favourite in the 15-runner field for Britain’s first classic of the year.

Appleby is quietly confident his colt can stretch his unbeaten run while emphasising the importance of the Guineas meeting for the Dubai racing operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

“His Highness has closely monitored the progress of the young horses as they embark on their three-year-old careers, but this is the first big test and it’s a focal point for Godolphin,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.

“And what an important occasion it will be for Pinatubo, who was rated the best two-year-old in 25 years but now has to show he has gone on where he left off last October.

“I am optimistic he will do that on Saturday. He has continued to please me in every way. Pinatubo’s draw [stall seven] is absolutely ideal."

The Godolphin star is joined in the race by stablemate Al Suhail and the royal blues’ senior trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s Military March. Al Suhail was runner-up to Military March in the Group 3 Dubai Autumn Stakes at Newmarket in his last start in October.

“This is the perfect starting point for Al Suhail,” Appleby said. “He is right up to Classic standard, and I expect him to acquit himself well."

Aidan O’Brien has a quartet in the race and the Ballydoyle trainer can pose the biggest challenge for Godolphin.

Arizona, twice beaten by Pinatubo, appears to be the ace in the pack under Ryan Moore.

“I know Arizona did very well at two, but we always thought he would make up into a better three-year-old,” O'Brien said. “The ground should be ideal, as the better the ground, the better he will be. We're very happy with him at the moment.”

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Wichita with Frankie Dettori in the saddle, Royal Dornoch (Tom Marquand) and New World Tapestry (Adam Kirby) complete O’Brien’s lineup.

Ghaiyyath will be first up for Godolphin in the Group 1 Coronation Cup on Friday. Ghaiyyath spent the winter in Dubai and was successful in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium at Meydan in February.

“Ghaiyyath puts so much effort into his races; he was taking a long time to get over his earlier runs. But we have seen a change in him, particularly of late,” Appleby said. "He is now the finished article. He can be a flagship for Godolphin in the top middle-distance races this year.”

The Coronation Cup is set for an intriguing contest with last year’s winner Defoe in the silks of Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Obaid, multiple Group 1 winner Stradivarius, and last year’s Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck.

“If Ghaiyyath turns up on his A-game then they have got him to beat,” Appleby said. “His last run in Dubai was over a mile and a quarter and this step back up to a mile and a half will suit him; it's his best trip.”

Also on Saturday, Godolphin have a quartet – Trekking, Kementari, Exhilarates and Ranier – challenging for the Australian season’s final Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm.

Godolphin are double-handed in Sunday’s 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, with Appleby’s Summer Romance and Bin Suroor’s Final Song.

Updated: June 4, 2020 07:15 PM

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