TRAINER Charlie Appleby has put to bed any doubts that red-hot 2000 Guineas favourite Pinatubo has not trained on.
After a remarkable season that saw him rated as the best juvenile in Europe for 25 years and higher than the mighty Frankel, all eyes are now on his first bid for Classic glory.
And with some bookies going odds-on he will extend his unbeaten record to seven at Newmarket on June 6, Appleby has done nothing to dampen punters’ spirits.
He said: “We are not going to have conclusive proof until the 2,000 Guineas, but my gut feeling is that Pinatubo has trained on.
“No buttons will be pressed until the big day but from what we are seeing at home, he has gone the right way.
“Mentally, I see no change in him. His demeanour is the same and he remains totally relaxed.
“Physically, though, I do see change. He has grown and strengthened over winter.
“You can also tell he is an experienced racehorse now. He goes about his business professionally, and nothing fazes him.”
Pinatubo stayed in Newmarket and not Dubai over the winter and William Buick rode his first piece of work on the three-year-old over the weekend.
Appleby added: “William said he gave him the same feel as when he rode him at two and we were pleased with his work.
“It was nice and simple and he went about it in his usual professional straightforward manner. We were delighted the way he finished off the gallop, over six furlongs.
“It was not a test. It was a piece of work to bring him on, and we now look forward to the final stages of his preparation.”
It might be one way traffic in the betting, but with Arizona (8-1) and Palace Pier (10-1) hailing from Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden respectively, it’s far from a one horse race.
And it’ll be Pinatubo’s first crack at a mile, but with a devastating course win over seven furlongs in the Dewhurst to his name, Appleby has little doubts over the trip.
He said: “I think the mile is going to be his trip. I believe that because of his mental attitude.
“He is a relaxed character, and if he was later asked to step up in trip, I think he has the right mindset for it.
“As for his physical attributes, he won six races as a juvenile, and three of them were on Britain’s most challenging courses — Epsom, Goodwood and Newmarket. His athleticism is a key asset.”
Pinatubo was last seen in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes and Appleby thought it was the perfect end to his breathtaking season.
He said: “My first impression on the day was that I was pleased he won. But I was also delighted that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was there to see his champion as he had been following the colt closely right from the time he first saw him at Kildangan Stud in Ireland as a yearling.
“It was Pinatubo’s second Group 1 and he remained unbeaten after six starts. It was the perfect end to a great season, and the fact that he was the best two-year-old in 25 years on official ratings was the cherry on top.
“Reviewed now, I believe it was a win full of character. It came off the back of a fantastic nine-length win in the National Stakes at the Curragh, and you could hardly expect him to repeat that on the Rowley Mile on soft ground, which he had never experienced before.
“He toughed it out well and was galloping on strongly at the end of a long season. His debut run had been on May 10.”
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