Pinatubo aiming for a return to winning ways in France

Trainer Charlie Appleby believes Deauville will see first victory of the campaign for the Godolphin star

Pinatubo ridden by William Buick wins The Darley Dewhurst Stakes during day two of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket Racecourse. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 12, 2019. See PA story RACING Newmarket. Photo credit should read: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Godolphin colt Pinatubo has found one or two too good for him in this year’s campaign but will be hoping on Sunday for a return to the form which saw him undefeated in six starts and crowned as the European champion juvenile.

He finished third behind Kameko and Wichita in the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on his reappearance on June 6 and went down to Palace Pier in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot two weeks later.

Pinatubo faces 10 rivals at Deauville in France and his trainer Charlie Appleby believes returning to the seven-furlong trip can achieve a first win for the year, a trip in which he achieved both his Group 1 successes last year in the National Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes.

“We have been delighted with Pinatubo going into the Prix Jean Prat,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.

“He has put up two gallant performances over a mile but the drop back to seven furlongs should suit. We feel that he sees the mile out but he has just been outstayed on both occasions this season.

“This is hopefully the right race for him to get his head back in front. We know that the distance is well within his comfort zone and it is his last opportunity to take on three-year-olds only at this level. He is in good order and we will be disappointed if he doesn’t win.”

William Buick rides the Shamardal colt and is joined by stable-companion Well Of Wisdom (James Doyle), who returns to France following two good efforts in France last season, winning the Listed prize and finishing second in the Group 3 Darley Prix de Cabourg.

The Oasis Dream colt makes his Group 1 debut after winning the Listed Meydan Classic at Meydan in February and scoring off top-weight in a seven-furlong Sandown Park handicap, in his most recent start on June 13.

Molatham carries the hopes of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid. The Roger Varian-trained Night Of Thunder colt under Jim Crowley goes into the race with victory in last month’s Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Aidan O’Brien is double-handed in the race with St James Palace Stakes sixth Arizona (Ryan Moore) and Lope Y Fernandez (Ioritz Mendizabal).

The local challenge is spearhead by Andre Fabre’s duo Alson and Tropbeau, the third and fourth in the French 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas respectively, and Francis-Henri Graffard’s Prix Texanita winner Wooded ridden by Christophe Soumillon.

Completing the field are Marco Botti’s Malotru, Ralph Beckett’s Kinross and Frenchman Frederic Rossi’s Kenway.

Meanwhile, Godolphin’s Earthlight makes a belated reappearance in the Listed Prix Kistena at the same meeting.

The Fabre-trained colt was undefeated in five starts. He won the Group 1 Prix Morny over the track and trip in his second last start and then went on to lower the six-furlong course record at Newmarket in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes to round off the 2019 season.

Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin said Earthlight was in “excellent form” according to his trainer.

“He came through a very pleasing racecourse gallop well and it appears to have put him back in the zone both mentally and physically,” she said.

“In saying that, he is a laid-back horse with a stocky frame who hasn’t run for 10 months. This race is the perfect spot for him to start off his season.”