Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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CHARLIE Appleby has given an upbeat report on QIPCO 2000 Guineas favourite Pinatubo ahead of the first Classic of the season at Newmarket on Saturday.
Pinatubo won all his six starts as a two-year-old including a brace of Group 1 wins that culminated with a two-length success in Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile in October.
The Newmarket win was preceded by another top-level success – the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh in September – and the son of Shamardal has delighted connections with his progress this term.
“I don’t want to sound too confident but he’s the highest-rated two-year-old for 25 years, looks great, won on all ground and on that [Rowley Mile] track,” Appleby said of Pinatubo who heads the betting at 5-6 for the 2000 Guineas, where his 14 rivals include stablemate Al Suhail (14-1).
“He’s not a horse that will light you up too much in the mornings but is the ultimate professional, like any sportsman at the top end. He’s got a great mind on him and he knows that when the gates open it’s ‘game on’.”
“We are delighted with the way he has strengthened and I think people will be pleasantly surprised by what they see on Saturday,” Appleby told representatives of the QIPCO British Champions Series. “I’d rather much have a neat-sized and balanced horse like he is going into these early Classics. He’s met every challenge that we have asked in his preparation.”
Jockey William Buick added: “Pinatubo was foot perfect last year and you know it’s all been said about him before – he had a long season last year but he performed on every run. Obviously he’s wintered well, he looks fantastic and he’s a horse that we’re all very much looking forward to.
“He is straightforward and he’s very versatile with it as well. He ran at Epsom, Goodwood, The Curragh, ran in Newmarket back-end on soft ground and his temperament as well – it’s a huge help and he’s always taken everything in his stride which as we all know from a jockey’s point of view is a dream.
“To be honest I don’t think Charlie ever thought about giving a prep run. Whatever was going to happen – obviously no-one could foresee this happening half-way through the winter I suppose. But I don’t think this was ever on the radar, but obviously that would have been Charlie’s call. It’s kind of irrelevant now.
“Everyone is going to turn up at Newmarket without a prep run so you know, Pintatubo himself has had a little racecourse gallop and his work’s been good so he’s prepping very well.”
* (William Buick was speaking on Paddy Power Media’s new podcast, From The Horse’s Mouth).
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