Dubai: Team Godolphin possess an abundance of riches in the juvenile division but perhaps none better than the extra-special Pinatubo, a Godolphin homebred who stamped himself as the European champion with a fearless victory in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
Ridden with supreme confidence by William Buick, the two-year-old son of top Godolphin stallion Shamardal showed why he looks destined for greatness when gallantly holding off Arizona for a two-length victory on testing soft ground.
Wichita, supplemented for the race by trainer Aidan O’Brien, who supplied four of the nine runners in the race, was nearly four lengths back in third.
This was Pinatubo’s sixth victory since his debut at Wolverhampton (AW) in May, all of which have come at different racecourses in the UK (Epsom, Ascot, Goodwood) and the Curragh in Ireland.
Buick, who was on board the winner for only the second time, paid tribute to the horse’s versatility and heart.
“The way the race played out it became a stamina test today,” he told Racing UK. “It was a different test for him but he overcame it. Every scenario you throw at him he answers it.”
Buick acknowledged that the ground condition were not favourable, but said: “I didn’t think there was any particular boas on the track, but he’s a brilliant horse. Only the brilliant ones can overcome extremes in ground and that’s what he did today.”
Winning trainer Charlie Appleby added: “We can all try and be calm and composed. We saw with Enable last week what it meant and sometimes in this industry we don’t realise what it means to the public and it’s so nice to see everyone behind him. He’s all heart. It’s fantastic to be here and get the result.”
Saturday’s victory guarantees that Pinatubo remains rated higher than the legendary Frankel at the same stage of his career and will ensure that he ends the season as champion two-year-old colt.
Pinatubo, who takes his name from Mount Pinatubo, an active stratovolcano in the Philippines, was also firmed up as the ante-post favourite for next year’s English 2,000 Guineas (G1) and Epsom Derby (G1).
Godolphin were completing a big-race double on day two at Dubai Future Champions Day, with the Saeed Bin Surour trainee, Military March, storming home a winner of the Group 3 Dubai Autumn Stakes over a mile.
Ridden by Oisin Murphy, the Darley-bred son of New Approach scored by half a length from fellow Godolphin-owned Al Suhail, representing the crack Buick-Appleby pairing.
Meanwhile, the Emirates Cesarewitch Stakes was won by the Willie Mullins-trained 20/1 outsider by Stratum and Jason Watson.