Is Pinatubo a ‘good thing’ for the 2,000 Guineas? He has done all – and more – asked of him so far, winning all his six starts in fine style. But on Saturday Charlie Appleby’s colt faces his biggest test yet when taking on 14 rivals on the Rowley Mile.
Pinatubo beat Aidan O’Brien’s Arizona by two lengths in the Dewhurst Stakes, with the latter’s stablemate Wichita a further 2¾ lengths back in third. O’Brien runs both again, along with longshots Royal Dornoch and New World Tapestry. Ryan Moore has chosen Arizona, while Frankie Dettori rides Wichita.
Arizona is the obvious first string of the O’Brien quartet. He followed his Dewhurst effort with a staying on fifth place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. As for Wichita, he had won a Newmarket Group 3 contest prior to running third in the Dewhurst.
In addition to Pinatubo, Godolphin also have Military March and Al Suhail, who finished first and second respectively in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes over the Guineas trip in October. Just half a length separated them that day and they are just two points apart in the betting. That suggests there is little between the pair.
Kameko could be big danger to Pinatubo
Andrew Balding’s colt Kameko can give the hot favourite a run for his money. He finished a neck behind Royal Dornoch when second in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes over the Guineas course and distance. He made amends next time by winning the rerouted Vertem Futurity at Newcastle, the first British Group 1 race ever held on an all-weather surface. Kinross, who takes his chance here, finished 6¼ lengths back in fifth that day.
Others to take on Pinatubo include Mum’s Tipple. He looks great when trouncing 20 rivals by 11 lengths in a sales race at York’s Ebor meeting. However, he then beat only one home in the Middle Park Stakes.
Roger Teal trained 50-1 Guineas runner-up Tip Two Win two years ago. This time he saddles Kensai Warrior, who is unbeaten in two starts. He won the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes, run last year at Newmarket, beating the admirable Ropey Guest by half a length. That form isn’t strong enough to win a Guineas but he’s a 25-1 shot who could outrun his odds.
The long odds available about Kempton all-weather winner Starcat (33-1), Champagne Stakes third Juan Elcano (40-1), July Course maiden winner Cepheus (66-1) and Group 3 runner-up Persuasion (80-1) reflect their respective chances.
At odds-on, Pinatubo is no value and there can be no guarantee that he’s trained on. Saturday will show us whether or not he’s the real deal.