Pinatubo got back on the winning trail with a stylish victory in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat at Deauville.
Charlie Appleby’s stable star was crowned last season’s champion two-year-old after an unbeaten six-race campaign – and was unsurprisingly all the rage for last month’s 2000 Guineas.
However, the Shamardal colt could finish only third in the Rowley Mile Classic and suffered another defeat at Royal Ascot – filling the runner-up spot behind Palace Pier in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Dropped to seven furlongs for what appeared a gilt-edged opportunity to add a Group One as a three-year-old to his CV, Pinatubo was the 1-2 favourite in the hands of William Buick – but odds-on backers were made to sweat before eventually collecting their winnings.
While always travelling strongly, Pinatubo found himself stuck in a pocket for the first half of the race as he tracked fellow British raider Molatham.
However, once the gap came, the Godolphin-owned colt quickly moved through the gears to grab the lead and ultimately won with something to spare.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Lope Y Fernandez was a clear second, three-quarters of a length back, with Marco Botti’s Malotru edging Wooded for third.
Appleby said: “I’m delighted first and foremost for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed – another Group One-winning son of Shamardal for him – and I’m delighted for the horse, obviously.
“It sounds strange, but I felt he lost nothing in defeat in the Guineas or at Ascot. He went out with his heart on his sleeve and just got outgunned in the last 50 yards of both races.
“I came here today with plenty of confidence, to be honest. We knew dropping back to seven furlongs would be his bag – and while it was a bit of a rough race, as William said afterwards, when you’re riding a horse like him everything just seems so easy.
“The horse deserved that today, and I’m thrilled for him.”
Considering future plans, the Newmarket handler added: “We’ll get the horse home and discuss things with Sheikh Mohammed.
“I don’t think we’ll be going to Goodwood for the Sussex, personally. He’s had three fairly quick runs at the top level now, and we might be better giving him a little bit more time.
“If we decided we wanted to stretch him out to a mile again, the obvious race is the Prix du Moulin, or if we wanted to stick at seven we could just wait for the Prix de la Foret before looking at taking him to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.”