Pinatubo rounded off an unblemished juvenile campaign with an ultimately decisive victory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
The Shamardal colt has carried all before him so far this season – progressing from a low-key debut win at Wolverhampton to landing the Woodcote at Epsom, the Chesham at Royal Ascot and the Vintage at Goodwood before a devastating nine-length romp in the National Stakes.
Charlie Appleby’s star juvenile was a prohibitively priced 1-3 favourite to make it six from six on the Rowley Mile – and while it was harder work than many expected, he was well on top at the line.
Ridden by William Buick, Pinatubo travelled strongly in the middle of pack before throwing down his challenge down the centre of the track.
Aidan O’Brien’s Arizona – a shade over nine lengths behind Pinatubo at the Curragh almost four weeks ago – certainly made more of a race of it on this occasion, and just for a moment threatened to spoil the party as he followed Pinatubo through.
However, Appleby’s charge asserted his authority after meeting the rising the ground and had two lengths in hand at the line.
Appleby said: “He has been a very special horse this year for all to see.
“I’m sure you saw him walking around the paddock – he is a horse that has this demeanour about him that you can’t get excited about in the mornings. I’d be making it up to say he was a ‘wow’ horse.
“In the mornings he goes about his business and I said to Will (Buick) before I legged him up, ‘you would think he is an older horse walking around in a handicap here’.
“He showed great courage today. He travelled nicely, but in this ground he had to dig deep. Will gave him a fantastic ride and once he came to the fight he wasn’t going to lie down.”
Paddy Power left Pinatubo unchanged as the 11-10 favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas, while William Hill trimmed him to evens. He is 8-1 with Racebets to win both the Guineas and the Derby.
Appleby continued: “People asked if we were running a risk running him again as he’d already had five runs this year but if you are a boxer going into the ring, you want plenty of experience behind you when it comes to a dogfight.
“He has been there on every occasion – he went to Epsom on Derby day, he went to Royal Ascot and Goodwood and Ireland. He’s been up and down dale and brought a wealth of experience to the table, as well as an engine.
“Someone asked me earlier what was the nicest horse to train and I said Blue Point as he got me excited in the mornings and in the afternoons. I could set my clock by him as he was electric.
“This horse galloped in midweek again, rolled upsides his lead horse and the choke is out! He doesn’t fill you full of confidence coming into Group Ones, but as long as he keeps turning up in the afternoons I’m not too worried what he does in the mornings now.
“For sure (we dream) and it will help shorten the winter. In terms of where he will spend the winter, that has got to be spoken about.”
Pinatubo’s owner Sheikh Mohammed was winning the Dewhurst for the fifth time, with Ajdal (1986), Scenic (1988) and Pennekamp (1994) scoring in his own colours and Dawn Approach (2012) and Pinatubo carrying the royal blue silks of Godolphin.
He said: “When you win like that, with the horse showing a lot of courage, it must make you very pleased. We all love him. I will enjoy the winter and look forward to him and others next year.”
O’Brien was pleased with the performance of the runner-up and the third home, Wichita.
He said: “They all ran well, I thought. Arizona and Wichita are both big horses, but they wouldn’t have liked that ground – they are real good ground horses.
“We will see about the Guineas as it is a long way away. We were very happy with their runs, but the ground was a worry.”