'We'll be disappointed if Pinatubo doesn't win' - Jean Prat quotes and analysis
Parallels have been drawn between Pinatubo and Too Darn Hot for a while now. At first they were cautionary, now they seem to have been realised.
Which is not to say all is lost by any means. In last year's Prix Jean Prat, Too Darn Hot won at odds on to start a recovery which ended in champion miler honours. The aim is for Pinatubo to achieve similar redemption.
The problem with these sorts of comparisons is that you do well enough to find even one parallel. Too Darn Hot was still firmly entitled to win the Jean Prat on three-year-old form. Pinatubo's form this year is the best on offer, but not to the extent that odds of around 4-6 imply.
The competition is better than what Too Darn Hot swatted aside last year. Wooded is fancied to be the major challenger. He thundered to victory dropped to six furlongs last time and was fancied for both the Commonwealth Cup afterwards.
Tropbeau has three Group-race wins to her name and was favourite for the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches. She is also unbeaten over seven furlongs, which figures given how she has shaped over six and eight.
Similar comments apply to Lope Y Fernandez, who filled the same position in the Irish 2,000 Guineas as Pinatubo managed at Newmarket (third), while shaping more obviously like a seven-furlong horse. British raiders Malotru and Kinross are also likely to be better at this intermediate trip, but admittedly have a good bit more to prove in terms of ability.
While fans would love to see Pinatubo back to his flying best in the Prix Jean Prat, punters have plenty of ammunition with which to take aim.
Analysis by Keith Melrose
Charlie Appleby: we'll be disappointed if Pinatubo doesn't win
Charlie Appleby has been gracious in defeat at the hands of Kameko and Palace Pier so far this season but for both the trainer and his star pupil Pinatubo, the Qatar Prix Jean Prat marks a crucial crossroads in the season.
A win would mean Appleby can start planning for an assault on prestigious all-age prizes later in the year but anything less than that – against what looks an excellent standard of opposition – and the whispers about whether Pinatubo will ever fully match his achievements at two will grow much louder.
"We've been delighted with Pinatubo going into the Prix Jean Prat. He has put up two gallant performances over a mile but the drop back to seven furlongs should suit," said Appleby. "We feel he sees the mile out but has just been outstayed on both occasions this season.
"This is hopefully the right race for him to get his head back in front. We know that the distance is well within his comfort zone and its his last opportunity to take on three-year-olds at this level. He's in good order and we'll be disappointed if he doesn’t win."
Pinatubo is joined in Deauville by Well Of Wisdom, who is officially rated 12lb his inferior but who Appleby insists is neither pacemaker nor makeweight.
"Well Of Wisdom is lining up on his own merit following two decent performances at Meydan and under a big weight at Sandown," said Appleby. "He has good form in France and could hopefully run into a place."
What they say
Roger Varian, trainer of Molatham
It looks a strong race with a lot of depth including Pinatubo who, although he hasn't won this year, has run well in defeat. It looks like he could be suited by a drop to seven and he’s the class act in the race. Having won the Jersey, Molatham deserves his chance in a race like this and I think he's versatile with regards to trip and ground because he's a very relaxed horse. But he is also a fast horse with gears. He's recovered well from Ascot and trained well over the last fortnight. When you step up to Group 1s it's very hard to duck and dodge horses, you don't find weak races at this level. It will require a step up in form to come home with the prize but he deserves to have a crack at a race like this and he looks really well at home. He won on the soft at Ascot but he has nice form on good to firm as a juvenile.
Francis Graffard, trainer of Wooded
He's well and since he had to miss Ascot we've been aiming at this race. He needs to get back to the races, it's not easy to keep a lid on a horse like him without running for six weeks. 1,400 metres [seven furlongs] is about the limit for him and it's a tough race but he'll have the good ground which he loves.
Andre Fabre, trainer of Alson and Tropbeau
I was pleased with Alson's run as the Poule was his first race of the year and we can expect a little bit of improvement. It's going to be a fast race which will suit him and he will run well. One possibility is that the mile was a tiny bit too far for Tropbeau, which is why I wanted to see her over seven furlongs. There isn't much for the fillies around this trip at the moment apart from Goodwood late in the month.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Lope Y Fernandez and Arizona
We are looking forward to seeing Arizona running and he seems to be coming forward. Lope Y Fernandez seems to be in good form and is back up to seven furlongs.
Frederic Rossi, trainer of Kenway
The saddle slipped close home unfortunately last time. I think this will be his ideal trip as he is on the limit at 1,600 metres [a mile], while he loves a straight track as well.
Julian Richmond Watson, owner of Kinross
He's well and we decided we'd go for this race some time ago so we're hopeful he can run in the first three. We don't see the drop back in trip as an issue.
Marco Botti, trainer of Malotru
He's been in great form and I couldn't be happier with him. This has turned out to be a really tough Group 1 with Pinatubo taking his chance along with Aidan O'Brien and Andre Fabre running two each. We always felt we would have a crack at the top class with him and we'll take our chance. Good ground is important to him and so Ascot wouldn't have been ideal. This is his optimum trip and Andrea Atzeni likes the horse so that's a bonus. We're hopeful of a good run.
Good ground expected
Groundstaff applied 4-5mm of water on Friday evening in the expectation that dry, warm and windy conditions would bring the track back to good ground by Sunday afternoon.
Deauville's turf may not look its immaculate best after the Covid-19 shutdown delayed the usual aeration of the track until five weeks ago, but officials insist there has been no adverse effect on the quality of the surface.
Reporting by Scott Burton
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