Dubai: The bubble has finally burst for Godolphin’s unbeaten Pinatubo as 2019’s outstanding juvenile suffered his first defeat when outrun by the Oisin Murphy-ridden Kameko and Ireland’s Wichita in the 2,000 Guineas, the first Classic of the British racing season at Newmarket on Saturday.
Ridden by regular jockey William Buick, Pinatubo appeared to have every chance when he punched in the clear of a 15-horse field inside the final two furlongs, but was soon caught for speed as Kameko and Wichita pulled ahead to fight out the finish.
Kameko, who prevailed by a neck at the line, provided Murphy and trainer Andrew Balding with a first-ever 2,000 Guineas success while Wichita narrowly failed to supply Irish great Aidan O’Brien with a 11th triumph in the contest.
Pinatubo was a length back in third, clear of Godolphin’s Military March, ridden by Hector Crouch for Emirati handler Saeed Bin Surour.
A delighted Murphy, the reigning British champion jockey, told ITV Racing: “I’ve never won a Classic in Britain and it means the absolute world to me. It’s the stuff of dreams.
“It was a gutsy performance. He hardly blew a candle out afterwards — he must have a tremendous amount of ability.”
British bookmakers were quick to name Kameko the 3/1 favourite for Epsom Derby on July 4 while Pinatubo was pushed out too 33s.
Pinatubo’s defeat must have been a tough pill for Godolphin to swallow considering he was a horse that was expected to achieve superstar status following a flawless two-year-old career where he won all six of his starts.
However, it was a bittersweet day for the Dubai-owned operation as earlier in the day they had become a part of racing history when Frankie Dettori donned the famous Royal Blue silks for only the second time in eight years to win the Group 2 Dahlia Fillies’ Stakes aboard the John Gosden-trained Terebellum
Less than 24 hours earlier, he was denied what would have been a sensational comeback from the cold, but Dettori had to settle for the runners-up spot aboard Lord Tennyson in the Listed Paradise Stakes. The race was won by Marie’s Diamond.
The Italian wasted no time to formally build bridges with his old team with a supremely confident performance aboard Terebellum, winning the fillies and mares contest by more than a length from Queen Power, with the another Godolphin contender, Magic Lily, taking third under William Buick.
Dettori and Godolphin’s Saeed Bin Surour enjoyed a dream jockey/trainer partnership for close to two decades during which time he rode Godolphin’s first Classic winner, 1994 Epsom Oaks heroine Balanchine, before leaving the stable at the end of the 2012 season.
During his much-lauded partnership as Bin Surour’s first jockey the Italian rode nine English Classic winners for Godolphin and also partnered the great Dubai Millennium to glory in the Dubai World Cup of 2000 during a glittering career in the stable’s trademark silks.
Gosden commented on Terebellum’s winning performance and said: “She did that nicely. She got a little tired but that was the first time she had been on grass this year. She’s a heavy lady and takes some getting fit, so she’ll improve on that.
“That looked a deep Dahlia Stakes, so it was a good performance, and she liked the ground here better than she did in France last year. We’ll have a look at races like the Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland and the Prix Romanet in France.”