Dubai: Team Godolphin have won most of the sport’s most famous races more than once but they boast just a solitary victory in the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, Britain’s most prestigious race for juvenile horses, and the definitive pointer to Classic glory the subsequent year.
However, they hold a very strong hand in Pinatubo, the prodigious son of red-hot Darley stallion Shamardal, when the 245th running of the 1,400 metre contest for two-year-old colts and fillies takes place at the historic Rowley Mile track at Newmarket Racecourse in the UK.
The Dewhurst is a benchmark race with the most forward horses in the race usually becoming major contenders for the 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby. Churchill being the most recent winner of the race to achieve Classic glory when successful in the 2,000 Guineas in 2017.
Unbeaten in five career starts, including one at the highest level when successful in the National Stakes at the Curragh, Ireland, Europe’s champion juvenile is a justifiable favourite for next year’s Guineas and Derby.
Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby said: “Pinatubo has been as straightforward as always in his preparation for this race.
“There is no such thing as an easy G1 and we are respectful of the opposition but, on the formbook, he is the one they all have to beat.
“He has taken his races well and has strengthened up — he appears to be maturing with each run — while he is versatile in terms of ground,” he added.
“Newmarket can catch a few horses out. As much as we feel that Pinatubo has plenty of experience on undulating tracks, we won’t know if he will handle the dip at Newmarket until he races on it. He hasn’t put a foot wrong in all his starts to date and I am confident that he has the experience to cope with it.”
Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien sends out four of the nine runners as he seeks a seventh Dewhurst triumph.
Saturday’s card also features the Emirates Cesarewitch Stakes, one of European racing’s most popular handicaps.
Meanwhile, Mustashry notched his ninth career victory when comfortably winning the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes (Group 2).
The winner was ridden by Jim Crowley in the colours of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.