Pinatubo - How Good Is He?
Mark Smith - Monday September 16

When Pinatubo disappeared into the distance for a nine length win in Sunday's Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh, the two-year-old son of Shamardal (USA) ran the seven furlongs in a time that was a full 2.5 seconds faster than it took the Galileo filly Love to win the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes just one race earlier.

Nothing has come close to Pinatubo in five starts. And it's not like he is beating up on no-hopers.

Second-placed Armoury had won his last three starts including a Group II and a Group III.

Third-placed Arizona was an impressive winner of the Group II Coventry Stakes at Ascot and the horse he beat there, Threat, came out to win the Group II Gimcrack Stakes at York and the Group II Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. 


Pinatubo looks the part. A lovely rich bay with a long flowing stride, the Godolphin homebred is as short as 4/5 with some bookmakers for the 2000 Guineas.

Winning trainer Charlie Appleby revealed that Pinatubo looks a long way off a top horse in his trackwork.

"He's a trainer's dream once you get to know him, because he doesn't excite you in the morning to say the least. We started his career off at Wolverhampton for a reason, as we didn't really know he was in the yard," Appleby told Sporting Life.

"He's done nothing but improve with each run. James (Doyle) said he didn't really travel in the first half of the race at Goodwood, and I said to William (Buick) this morning, 'don't panic if this horse isn't travelling with you early, as at home he won't pick the bridle up'.

"He's the best horse I've ever had as a two-year-old, there's no doubt about it. He's exciting and it's great for the team.

"As soon as William gave him a squeeze he soon came back on the bridle and from two down I couldn't see him getting beat. It's not often you can say that at this level.

"I gave him a gallop midweek with some of the nicer two-year-olds trying to give myself a bit of confidence and I probably did the reverse, as Royal Crusade (Champagne Stakes runner-up) put him in his place.

"He just goes through the motions and the jockey gets off and says he's moving well. He goes home and eats, drinks, sleeps and that's the end of it. We only ever see the best of him when he turns up at the track, which is a nice position to be in.

"The way he's developing as an individual over the last six week has been noticeable. People were questioning whether he would just be a two-year-old, but he's got a nice walk and presence about him. He's a very exciting horse.

"I'll have to discuss things with Sheikh Mohammed, but the way he's won there I don't see any reason why he couldn't run in the Dewhurst (at Newmarket on October 12)."

Pinatubo's stakes-winning dam Lava Flow, a daughter of former Cornerstone Stud shuttler Dalakhani, is a half-sister to the Group 1 Gran Criterium runner-up Strobilus (Mark of Esteem) from the family of Pride Of Dubai and Invincible Spirit.

Shamardal (USA) struck for a second time at the Curragh on Sunday when his 3yo daughter Tarnawa captured the Group II Blandford Stakes for The Aga Khan and Dermot Weld.

Five season shuttler Shamardal (USA) takes his Group 1 tally to 21 and he recently featured as the sire of the dam of Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup winner Hello Youmzain.

His Australian progeny includes the Champion Hong Kong miler Able Friend and Epsom Handicap winner Captain Sonador, the Group 1 Darley Classic winner Delectation and the VRC Oaks winner Faint Perfume.

Shamardal's son Lope de Vega (IRE) has been a huge success in both hemispheres while Swettenham Stud's Puissance De Lune (IRE) has had only a handful of runners but they all seem to have ability.

Godolphin's recently retired champion sprinter Blue Point could be a safe bet to represent Shamardal (USA) in Australia next year. 

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