Charlie Appleby will make a decision after watching Pinatubo work at the weekend regarding his participation in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat at Deauville.
The Newmarket handler is leaning towards the seven-furlong Group One on Sunday week as the next target for last year’s champion two-year-old, who has met with defeat in both of his starts this season.
Having finished third on his first start over a mile in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Sharmardal colt subsequently found only Palace Pier too strong in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
With Appleby reporting Pinatubo to have come out of his race at the Royal meeting in good fashion, a trip to France is on the agenda.
Appleby said: “Pinatubo did an easy piece of work on Wednesday and that was his first piece of work back. The piece of work was nothing strong, but it pleased us. We have a target that is the Prix Jean Prat, but it is not rubber-stamped yet.
“He will do another piece of work over the weekend and we will make our decision then. So far the post-race signs after Ascot have been good.
“If he has pleased us and everything is going well, we will drop him back to seven for the Prix Jean Prat.”
Although Pinatubo has been beaten for the first time in his career, Appleby believes there are plenty of positives to take out of his efforts.
He said: “He definitely came forward a bit more from the Guineas to St James’s Palace Stakes, which we had hoped he would.
“I know he has been beaten in both the St James’s Palace Stakes and 2000 Guineas, but what he showed us is that he has great courage.
“William (Buick) said he showed great guts to keep going in the St James’s Palace. The extra furlong just caught him out at Ascot last time having travelled so well, but what he showed us was determination and that he is a great battler.”
Despite Pinatubo being lined up for a drop back in trip, the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland in November is a potential end-of-season target.
Appleby said: “You can see how strongly he travels through his races, so dropping back to seven doesn’t worry me at all.
“I’m not saying that he won’t get a mile in time. What we could potentially work back from is the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.
“The two-turn mile around there could really suit him.”
The Qatar Lennox Stakes at Goodwood remains the target for Space Blues. However, Appleby has not ruled out running the Dubawi colt in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket next Saturday if conditions are suitable.
He said: “Ultimately the Lennox is the aim, as we know what he can do over seven furlongs, but we might look at the July Cup.
“We know he is a better horse with cut in the ground, so we wouldn’t want to be dropping back on a sounder surface.
“If the conditions changed the July Cup would be worth looking at. We always had it on our mind he would be a sprinter this year.”
Barney Roy looks set to make his next appearance abroad, with Appleby weighing up options in France and Germany for Excelebration gelding, who finished third last time out in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal meeting.
He said: “We are looking at either the Prix D’Ispahan over nine furlongs at Chantilly or the Bayerisches Zuchtrennan over a mile and a quarter at Munich.
“He pulled up out of his last run well. I was pleased with the run and he put up a solid performance.
“The plan after this will be to give him a break and then look at going for some international races later in the year.”