Pinatubo clear 2,000 Guineas favourite after explosive Vintage victory
There might be nothing spectacular about Pinatubo when he works on the gallops but he is fast becoming one of the most exciting young horses in training thanks to his explosive visits to the track.
And his latest victory in the Qatar Vintage Stakes has rocketed him to the head of the Qipco 2,000 Guineas betting.
Although quotes as short as 9-4 (from 8) for a race more than nine months away look conservative at best, they were inevitable after Pinatubo showed a rare change of gear that sent him five lengths clear of promising runner-up Positive.
There were a further five lengths back to Lope Y Fernandez in third, a horse who had been just three and a quarter lengths behind the winner when the pair met in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
That ten-length margin may not be an entirely accurate reflection of the relative ability of the first and third, but it is hard to question that Pinatubo – now unbeaten in four starts – now heads the two-year-old pack.
"He's a true professional," said winning trainer Charlie Appleby. "On the dam side there's stamina there and I told James Doyle to keep it simple and keep pressing forward, and I'm delighted with the result."
Although Appleby pointed to Pinatubo's acceleration as his main weapon on the track, he said it was like watching a different horse on the gallops.
"At home you can't get excited about him; you wouldn't notice him. You see him walking around the paddock and he looks like an old stayer but we've seen acceleration on all of his runs. He just gets on with his job and thankfully he's very good at it."
Ladbrokes at 4-1 offered the biggest odds for the Guineas with the Group 1 Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, again over 7f at the Curragh in September, likely to be the next stepping stone to Classic stardom at three.
"I'll speak to Sheikh Mohammed but before today we felt the National Stakes would be the target. I see no reason why that wouldn't still be the case," said the winning trainer.
"We'll take one step at a time but after retiring Blue Point, I'm looking to fill that gap and he might be one of the horses. I see no reason why he shouldn't progress as a three-year-old."
Doyle was clearly smitten with the winner, especially the change of pace he showed to secure victory.
"I popped him out turning into the straight just to have a look and he just took off," said Doyle. "He really dropped down and accelerated right through the line. It was a lovely performance in every way. I'm sure he's going to see out a mile no problem."
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