Pinatubo lauded in European Classifications

Wed 22nd Jan 2020, 12:18

photoPinatubo
©© Photo Healy Racing
Pinatubo will head into his Classic season officially 10lb clear of his nearest rival after the European Two-Year-Old Classifications were released on Wednesday.

Charlie Appleby’s charge ended 2019 unbeaten in six starts, including a nine-length demolition in the National Stakes at the Curragh and a two-length verdict in the Dewhurst at Newmarket on his final two outings.

He was given a mark of 128 following his Curragh win and the Godolphin colt remains on that rating, which makes him the best juvenile since Celtic Swing achieved a figure of 130 in 1994 — an achievement matched only by Arazi in 1991. Frankel was rated 126 at the end of his two-year-old season.

Appleby told the PA news agency: “We’re obviously delighted Pinatubo has been crowned European champion two-year-old. He’s wintering away here in the UK and we’re very happy with him.

“We’ve obviously had a fairly mild winter so far and his coat looks good.

“He’s just going through the motions at this stage. No serious questions have been asked yet, but his demeanour hasn’t changed — he’s still very relaxed and just goes about his business.”

Pinatubo is a best-priced 5-4 favourite for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, and Appleby confirmed his charge will not run again until the first Classic of the season on May 2.

“We’re working back from the Guineas and the plan is to go straight there. He won’t be running in a trial,” said the Newmarket handler.

“We’ll keep him ticking over until around the middle of March and then step up.

“As with any horse going from two to three, you just hope they improve and continue to go the right way.”

Godolphin are also responsible for the next best two-year-old of 2019 in Andre Fabre’s unbeaten Prix Morny and Middle Park winner Earthlight (118).

The British Horseracing Authority’s lead two-year-old handicapper Graeme Smith said: “Pinatubo looked a potentially outstanding two-year-old when thrashing a competitive field in the Vintage Stakes and his next performance in the National Stakes was breathtaking — the kind you rarely see in top company — as he powered nine lengths clear of Armory and Arizona in a top-class time.

“This was one of the great two-year-old performances, and the best by any two-year-old in the last 25 years.”

Andrew Balding’s Kameko, who holds the distinction of winning the first British Group One to be held on the all-weather after taking the rescheduled Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle, is also on 118 to round out the top three juvenile colts.

The champion filly was the Jessica Harrington-trained Millisle, who achieved a rating of 115 for her surprise 16-1 success in the Cheveley Park Stakes.

Harrington’s Prix Marcel Boussac victor Albigna, Mark Johnston’s Cheveley Park second Raffle Prize and Fillies’ Mile winner Quadrilateral, from Roger Charlton’s yard, are all just 1lb behind on 114.

Mark Bird, Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board handicapper, said: “Millisle’s position at the top of the two-year-old filly rankings is a fitting finale to a juvenile season that can only be described as sensational for handler Jessica Harrington, who trained an amazing 21 individual two-year-old fillies to success in 2019.

“Millisle’s victory at Newmarket, when she defeated three Group Two and two Group Three winners, was the most substantive piece of form produced by any two-year-old filly in Europe in 2019.

“She deservedly emerges as champion in the division following in the footsteps of a long list of fillies, including Marling, Queen’s Logic, Tiggy Wiggy and Clemmie, who were all crowned champion two-year-old filly after winning this race.”

Overall the number of horses rated at 110 or above dropped to the joint-lowest total in recent times, with 40 horses hitting that mark compared to an average of 50 this century.

Five horses from France featured in the rankings which was an improvement on 2018 but is still below the average since 2000, while Germany had three representatives, which is the first time in a decade that more than one German horse has qualified.

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THE IRISH TIMES