There’s a big clear favourite for the 2000 Guineas this year and with good reason, Pinatubo is the highest rated horse this race has seen for some time, he’s even rated 2lb higher than the best turf horse the world has seen Frankel was at this time in his career, he’s owned and bred by the mighty Team Godolphin whose trying to win the race for the 4th time under the Godolphin name at least.
Pinatubo is trained by Charlie Appleby whose trying to win the Guineas for the first time in his short but already prestigious training career to add to his other classic winning Derby trophy. Charlie already is in scintillating form with not only a cool 32% strike rate in this seasons UK All weather but also is mopping up in the UAE with 20 winners to his name in Meydan alone which includes a Group 1, 6 x Group 2’s and 2 x Group 3’s.
Pinatubo finds himself unbeaten in 6 runs, 5 on the turf, he already has 2 Group 1 victories to his name having been tipped up by racing specialist. The first when looking simply like a future superstar when smashing with ease a genuine quality field in the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes over in Ireland beating Irish EBF Futurity Stakes winning Armory by 9 lengths and Royal Ascots Coventry Stakes winning Arizona by slightly further. Pinatubo then went on to the Dewhurst to take on Arizona once again, this time under much different underfoot circumstances, he didn’t look to like the the tricky Newmarket dips neither did the testing ground look to give him any favours but even if a little workmanlike his quality seen him through to beat Arizona by a much reduced 2 length victory.
Yet to tackle a mile which isn’t any concern as I believe most 2000 Guineas winners didn’t run at a mile in their 2yo career but visually his best work comes in his last furlong and always very strong through the line with ears pricked showing he’ll relish the mile trip, even on breeding points more to stamina with his Dad Sharmardal who won the mile St James Palace and the 1m2f French Derby, his Mother Lava Flow was a Listed 1m3f winner and the dams sire Dalakhani was a multiple Group 1 winner which included the prestigious 1m4f Prix De L’Arc, so plenty of positives to show there’s even more improvement when going further.
Looking at the negatives, if the ground was to be soft, that sure would be a big negative after his last display didn’t see his usual excellence, but with good in the going description in 9 of the last 10 years of this race, there’s little chance that will be a negative on the day. He didn’t look totally at home on the Newmarket undulations LTO too which also is a negative, but certainly didn’t stop him and the experience will now be a plus.
Another interesting point that’s not exactly a negative as his breeding is more than adequate but the last 9 winners of this race have been heavily linked with the mighty Galileo, his sired 3 (Churchill, Gleneagles & Frankel) winners in the last 9 years, he’s been the dams sire of 4 (Magna Grecia, Saxon Warrior, Galileo Gold & Night Of Thunder) of the last 9 winners, he was the great sire of 2013 winner Dawn Approach and 2012 winner Camelot’s grand sire was Saddlers Wells whose is Galileo’s sire, you’d have to go back to 2010 when French surprise winner Makfi wasn’t closely linked to Galileo, even the year before this in 2009 the winner Sea The Stars was Galileo’s half brother.
So like previously mentioned you can’t tarnish Pinatubo’s excellence because he isn’t closely related to Galileo but it’s very interesting to see Galileo’s dominance in this race and worth a look at a couple of his best descendants to hopefully keep his firm stance on the race.
First off is Earthlight whose also a Godolphin horse, this time from their French operation whose trained by A Fabre whose one of the most successful trainers in the world, he’s won French trainer of the year a record 24 years and has won the English 2000 Guineas.
Earthlight is half brother to Pinatubo but his great dams sire is Galileo which is very handy if going off trends, like his brother is unbeaten in 5 turf starts, but has yet raced past 6 furlongs and again like his brother, he’s super speedy and bred for further, his dam Winters Moon was a winner on the Newmarket July course and was very unlucky close 3rd in the Group 1 Fillies Mile over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket while her excellent sire New Approach who has 5 Group 1 wins to his name, 2 over this Newmarket Rowley track, he was beaten by just a nose in the 2000 Guineas but went on to win the the 1m4f classic Derby, so plenty to love about Earthlights pedigree and sure to see a improvement stepped up in trip.
Earthlight already has 2 group 1 victories to his name, the first in France in the Prix Morny while setting a track record and when last seen winning the Middle Park Stakes over this track by a cosy neck, while he hasn’t been as breath taking as half brother Pinatubo, there’s definitely a lot more to come when upped in trip and very well bred for the Guineas course and trip, his odds at current of 8/1 is very appealing for the value punter, there’s always a risk of backing a French horse to skip the French Guineas for the English counterpart especially with Godolphin already have the short price fav wrapped up, but trainer A Fabre has been vocal he’s excited to run Earthlight in the English Guineas, so let’s hope he gets his way.
I couldn’t finish without mentioning a A O’Brien horse who has won this race a record 10 times and bidding to win this race for the 4th time in succession, while not looking to have the strongest of hands this season, you simply can’t write him off, while Arizona got much closer to Pinatubo when they last met and many feel is O’Briens best chance at retaining the Guineas, I still believe Armory looks his best shot, he beat Arizona by a short distance when they was both smashed in the Vincent O’Brien Stakes and the extra distance will certainly see more, his sired by Galileo, which doesn’t need any further mention and is out of a Danehill Dancer mare who had plenty of speed and won at Newmarket and had 2 Group 1’s to his name. His odds of 33/1 with most online betting sites are down to his last 2 runs in France, where he simply hated the very testing underfoot conditions and for me, you can simply put a line through them displays and you’ll get a huge run for your money at his current odds.
I couldn’t put you off last years 2 year old horse of the year Pinatubo, but Earthlight’s odds 8/1 are more appealing and is more suited to Newmarket, while Armory odds of 33/1 is standout and the best each way bet of the race.