Charlie Appleby is looking forward to seeing Pinatubo put his unbeaten record on the line in a fascinating renewal of the Qatar Vintage Stakes.
The son of Shamardal has progressed from a debut victory at Wolverhampton to landing the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom and the Chesham at Royal Ascot, with the dominance of his latter display seeing him rocket to the head of ante-post lists for next year’s 2000 Guineas.
He heads to Goodwood in search of the four-timer, but his task is far from straightforward, with Aidan O’Brien’s Chesham runner-up Lope Y Fernandez, Mark Johnston’s highly-regarded colt Visinari and Richard Hannon’s Superlative Stakes winner Mystery Power among his six rivals.
Appleby said: “He’s come out of the Chesham in good form. I think he should suit the track with the style of how he races. It was undulating at Epsom and he managed to handle that, which is why I’m happy to go to Goodwood with him. Hopefully it will play to our strengths.
“He has got pace, but the step up to seven was always going to help him and he showed his class at Ascot. It was not a weak race as the second horse was strongly fancied and some nice form is coming out of the race, with the fourth horse finishing second in a Listed race at Ascot on Saturday.
“I definitely think this is the best two-year-old race we have seen this year. Hopefully he will step forward again.”
Mystery Power must carry a 3lb penalty for his victory at Newmarket’s July meeting earlier in the month, but Hannon is unperturbed.
“I didn’t quite think he would go to Newmarket and win a Group Two like he did. He won it the hard way. He was going away at the line and I think he has improved again for that,” said the Marlborough-based trainer.
“Olympic Glory won the July Stakes and then the Vintage and King Torus did the same with a penalty. I think any more than 3lb has a massive effect. You see with these two-year-olds in novice races that 5lb and 6lb penalties gets these good horses beat, but I think 3lb is doable.
“It will be a good race as there are lot of good horses around.”
Visinari created a huge impression when making a winning start to his career at Newmarket in early June, but odds-on backers had their fingers burnt after he was narrowly beaten into third place in the July Stakes on his latest outing.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “I think this is probably the hottest two-year-old race run all year in many ways. It brings together the Chesham form, and the Superlative and our horse from the July Stakes.
“I was annoyed when I read somewhere that he disappointed in the July Stakes. He was having the second run of his life in a Group Two race and he was beaten a neck into third place. The market might have been disappointed, but we certainly weren’t – he ran a screamer.
“The extra furlong will help, but even more so we think the experience he gained from running in a top-class race like that will help him improve enormously.
“He does need to step up and it’s a big ask, but we’ll give it a go.”
Positive is an interesting contender for Clive Cox. The Dutch Art colt faces a significant step up in class, but could hardly have been more impressive in winning by five lengths on his introduction at Salisbury.
“He was impressive first time out and I think the maiden form from Salisbury is working out well,” said Cox.
“We’ve made no secret we have liked him a lot, but this is a big step up, so fingers crossed he can acquit himself well.
“This race was always in our mind and he is a very exciting horse. He has got plenty of size and scope and a good level of ability – and he is only going to get better with time as well.
“He made a wonderful first start and although this is a big step, it is a step we are hopeful he can take.”
Saeed bin Suroor’s July Stakes runner-up Platinum Star and Mick Channon’s rank outsider Milltown Star complete the line-up.