Pi­natubo back on win­ning trail

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Sports -

Pi­natubo got back on the win­ning trail with a stylish vic­tory in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat at Deauville.

Char­lie Ap­pleby’s sta­ble star was crowned last sea­son’s cham­pion two-year-old af­ter an un­beaten six-race cam­paign – and was un­sur­pris­ingly all the rage for last month’s 2000 Guineas.

How­ever, the Shamardal colt could fin­ish only third in the Row­ley Mile Clas­sic and suf­fered an­other de­feat at Royal As­cot – fill­ing the run­ner-up spot be­hind Palace Pier in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

Dropped to seven fur­longs for what ap­peared a gilt-edged op­por­tu­nity to add a Group One as a three-year-old to his CV, Pi­natubo was the 1-2 favourite in the hands of Wil­liam Buick – but odds-on back­ers were made to sweat be­fore even­tu­ally col­lect­ing their win­nings.

While al­ways trav­el­ling strongly, Pi­natubo found him­self stuck in a pocket for the first half of the race as he tracked fel­low Bri­tish raider Mo­latham. How­ever, once the gap came, the Godolphin-owned colt quickly moved through the gears to grab the lead and ul­ti­mately won with some­thing to spare.

The Ai­dan O’Bri­en­trained Lope Y Fer­nan­dez was a clear sec­ond, three-quar­ters of a length back, with Marco Botti’s Malotru edg­ing Wooded for third.

Ap­pleby said: “It sounds strange, but I felt he lost noth­ing in de­feat in the Guineas or at As­cot. He went out with his heart on his sleeve and just got out­gunned in the last 50 yards of both races.”

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