Pinatubo picks up in style to land Woodcote Stakes

Royal Ascot bid not ruled out

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Pinatubo put himself in the mix for an appearance at Royal Ascot when maintaining his unbeaten record in the Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes at Epsom.

Having made a winning debut at Wolverhampton earlier in the month, the Charlie Appleby-trained Shamardal colt backed that up in coming off a scorching pace set by Misty Grey to claim the six-furlong event.

Moving on inside the final furlong, the even-money favourite had more than enough in hand to keep the running-on Oh Purple Reign at bay by a length and a half.

The winner was introduced at 10-1 for the Coventry Stakes by Paddy Power, while Betway went 7-1 for the same race.

Appleby said: “It was a pleasing performance. I said to James (Doyle) if you can hang on to their coat tails early doors I was confident he was going to come home strong.

“It was a little bit concerning when Mark’s (Johnston, Misty Grey) had gone off as quick as they had and got that extended lead, but once he came down the hill and James got him levelled out I was pretty confident he was going to do his best work towards the finish.

“As to whether he is a Coventry horse, let’s get him back and speak to Sheikh Mohammed, then let’s make a call on whether he joins the team. I wouldn’t rule it out, for sure.

“He is a horse that will take a bit of experience to the Coventry and a nice level of form to the table.”

Gossiping gave trainer Gary Moore something to celebrate as he completed a hat-trick of victories with a commanding display in the Investec Mile Handicap.

The seven-year-old continued his recent revival under Moore, who is in New York celebrating his wife Jayne’s 60th birthday, with arguably his performance of the season in the extended mile prize.

Having sat prominently throughout, the 10-1 shot quickly put the race to bed when sent on by Andrea Atzeni, before scoring by five lengths.

Moore’s son, Jamie, said: “The horse has done well. He has done a good job with him as he lost his way a bit.

“It is a shame Shane Kelly couldn’t be on him, as he rides him all the time – he had to go to Wolverhampton, but Andrea gave him a lovely ride.

“I was confident he would stay the extended mile. He always needs a good three, four or five weeks between races.”

He added: “Dad doesn’t normally venture far, but it is my mum’s 60th so it is important to look after her.”

Mountain Angel (11-4 favourite) gave Atzeni a treble when repeating a course and distance success five weeks ago in the Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap.

Atzeni brought the Roger Varian-trained five-year-old to head long-time leader Mr Scaramanga a furlong out and scamper clear to score by a length from Jazeel. Mr Scaramanga was three-quarters of a length away in third.

In between Gossiping and Mountain Angel, Atzeni had won the Coronation Cup on the Varian-trained Defoe.

Varian said: “He is a straightforward horse and a strong traveller.

“He has won a handicap by a length pushed out and I would say his future is in handicaps at the moment. We will get him home and see how he is and speak with connections.

“He probably deserves an entry in the John Smith’s Cup at York, I think that closes next week so that might be a target.”

Space Blues took the step from handicaps up to Listed company in his stride with a gritty display to lift the Investec Surrey Stakes.

Winner of a competitive handicap at York two weeks ago, the Godolphin-owned colt led inside the final furlong and withstood the strong challenge of Marie’s Diamond by a neck.

Appleby said: “At this present time I am thinking about the Jersey at Royal Ascot. I don’t think we will be stepping him up in trip so the seven furlongs of the Jersey is probably the most logical thing to do at the moment.

“He’s a fun horse to have around – he travels and he’s got a gear change, which is nice to see.”

The 6-5 favourite was the second winner on the card for Godolphin, Appleby and Doyle after Pinatubo in the Woodcote.

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