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He's back! Pinatubo regains winning thread with Group One victory at Deauville

Sun 12 Jul 2020
Pinatubo recorded his first victory on Sunday since his win in the Dewhurst last year (Pic: Focusonracing)
Pinatubo recorded his first victory on Sunday since his win in the Dewhurst last year (Pic: Focusonracing)

Pinatubo got back on the winning trail with a stylish victory in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat at Deauville.

Charlie Appleby’s stable star was crowned last season’s champion two-year-old after an unbeaten six-race campaign – and was unsurprisingly all the rage for last month’s 2000 Guineas.

However, the Shamardal colt could finish only third in the Rowley Mile Classic and suffered another defeat at Royal Ascot – filling the runner-up spot behind Palace Pier in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

Dropped to seven furlongs for what appeared a gilt-edged opportunity to add a Group One as a three-year-old to his CV, Pinatubo was the 1-2 favourite in the hands of William Buick – but odds-on backers were made to sweat before eventually collecting their winnings.

While always travelling strongly, Pinatubo found himself stuck in a pocket for the first half of the race as he tracked fellow British raider Molatham.

However, once the gap came, the Godolphin-owned colt quickly moved through the gears to grab the lead and ultimately won with something to spare.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Lope Y Fernandez was a clear second, three-quarters of a length back, with Marco Botti’s Malotru edging Wooded for third.

Appleby said: "I'm delighted first and foremost for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed - another Group One-winning son of Shamardal for him - and I'm delighted for the horse, obviously.

"It sounds strange, but I felt he lost nothing in defeat in the Guineas or at Ascot. He went out with his heart on his sleeve and just got outgunned in the last 50 yards of both races.

"I came here today with plenty of confidence, to be honest. We knew dropping back to seven furlongs would be his bag - and while it was a bit of a rough race, as William said afterwards, when you're riding a horse like him everything just seems so easy.

"The horse deserved that today, and I'm thrilled for him."

Considering future plans, the Newmarket handler added: "We'll get the horse home and discuss things with Sheikh Mohammed.

"I don't think we'll be going to Goodwood for the Sussex, personally. He's had three fairly quick runs at the top level now, and we might be better giving him a little bit more time.

"If we decided we wanted to stretch him out to a mile again, the obvious race is the Prix du Moulin, or if we wanted to stick at seven we could just wait for the Prix de la Foret before looking at taking him to Keeneland for the Breeders' Cup Mile."

EARTHLIGHT MAINTAINS UNBEATEN RECORD

Earthlight maintained his unbeaten record with an impressive return to action in the Qatar Prix Kistena at Deauville.

Andre Fabre’s colt was one of the star juveniles in Europe last season – winning each of his five starts, including Group One triumphs in the Prix Morny over this course and distance and the Middle Park at Newmarket.

The coronavirus pandemic, followed by a minor setback, has delayed his three-year-old debut – and with fellow Godolphin-owned colt Pinatubo running in the Prix Jean Prat later in the afternoon, Earthlight instead ran in Listed company on the undercard.

Ridden by Mickael Barzalona, 3-10 favourite Earthlight was always travelling powerfully – and the result was scarcely ever in doubt.

Once given his head, the son of Shamardal comfortably grabbed the lead before kicking clear in dominant style. Wanaway (25-1) was best of the rest two and a half lengths away in second.

Fabre said: “It was a good performance. He travelled nicely and showed good speed, so I’m happy.

“We have two options – we either go for the Prix Maurice de Gheest or we step up in distance. We will discuss it with Sheikh Mohammed and see where he wants to go.”

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