I was interested in the update on the Godolphin website as this week as Jim McGrath spoke to Charlie Appleby, who pinpointed a selection of the main prospects for Moulton Paddocks while also naming some well-bred two-year-olds to watch out for. What follows are my selected highlights the full article is over on www.godolphin.com
"At this time of the year, the question everybody is asking re the Guineas favourite is ‘has he trained on?’ We are not going to have conclusive proof until the 2,000 Guineas on June 6, but my gut feeling is that Pinatubo HAS trained on. No buttons will be pressed until the big day but from what we are seeing at home, he has gone the right way. Mentally, I see no change in him. His demeanour is the same from two to three. He remains totally relaxed. Physically, though, I DO see change. He has grown and strengthened over winter. You can also tell he is an experienced racehorse now. He goes about his business professionally, and nothing fazes him."
His Latest Work...
"On Saturday, William Buick came to Moulton Paddocks to sit on Pinatubo for the first time since the Dewhurst last October, and he was very pleased with him. William said he gave him the same feel as when he rode him at two. We were pleased with his work. It was nice and simple and he went about it in his usual professional straightforward manner. We were delighted the way he finished off the gallop, over six furlongs. It was not a test. It was a piece of work to bring him on, and we now look forward to the final stages of his preparation for the Guineas. I am often asked why we didn’t take Pinatubo to Dubai during the winter. It was decided that he should stay at home in Newmarket in familiar surroundings. It was a decision taken by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and myself for the simple reasons of not wanting to change his training style or where he trains. Pinatubo had gone under the radar in all his homework before he first ran. He always did himself well. He’d get his work done, but he did nothing to suggest he would end the season as the highest-rated two-year-old in Europe. He never won a gallop. But he never finished last. He only always did enough. He worked adequately. He would never disappoint but he would never excite, either. There are plenty, who win gallops in the morning and never turn up in the afternoon. He is the opposite."
How will Pinatubo perform in the 2000 Guineas?
"I think the mile is going to be his trip. I believe that because of his mental attitude. He is a relaxed character, and if he was later asked to step up in trip, I think he has the right mindset for it. As for his physical attributes, he won six races as a juvenile, and three of them were on three of Britain’s most challenging courses — Epsom, Goodwood and Newmarket. His athleticism is a key asset. He has pleased me in his work in preparation for the Guineas, and provided there are no hiccups, I think he will give a very good account of himself."
There were updates on some other Godolphin horses for the weeks ahead a few worth noting are:
"His first target is the G1 Coronation Cup at Newmarket on Friday June 5. This year, Ghaiyyath comes to his season in Europe physically stronger, with a winter behind him in Dubai, where he won the G3 Dubai Milleninium Stakes at Meydan. Now a five-year-old, he is the finished article. He missed his intended Sheema Classic engagement when the Dubai World Cup meeting was cancelled and he was kept ticking over with routine conditioning work at Mahmoom. He travelled back to UK in late April and he has been in full training since at Moulton Paddocks."
"He showed in Dubai that he is back to his best, and next month’s G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Ascot is his next assignment. Barney Roy showed his class, winning twice at Meydan at the Carnival. His turn-of-foot can be devastating. He will also be on our international team later in the year."
And finally a two-year-old that caught my eye and looks one to watch is the colt Royal Touch (Dubawi — Gonbarda) described as “A striking-looking half-brother to Farhh. Progressing well.”