Godolphin's Pinatubo confirmed for Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket

Press Association Sport 17:30 07/10/2019
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Godolphin‘s Pinatubo is the star name among 11 juveniles confirmed for the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Shamardal colt has carried all before him so far this season – progressing from a low-key debut win at Wolverhampton to landing the Woodcote at Epsom, the Chesham at Royal Ascot and the Vintage at Goodwood before a nine-length romp in the National Stakes in Ireland.

Charlie Appleby’s charge will be a warm order to confirm his status as champion two-year-old on the Rowley Mile this weekend – and the Newmarket handler has been pleased with his charge since his latest triumph at the Curragh.

He said: “He has come out of the National Stakes in good shape. As per usual, he has been straightforward at home and we are looking forward to the Dewhurst.

“I’d say we have frightened off most of the opposition, but from what we have seen at the races, he has been very impressive for all to see and has improved on each run.

“It was great to see Earthlight winning the Middle Park and he is there as one of the potential champion two-year-olds, but if Pinatubo wins the Dewhurst and I think that is signed, sealed and delivered – that he is the most exciting two-year-old we have seen this year.”

Aidan O’Brien has saddled six previous winners of the seven-furlong Group One and this year has five contenders – headed by the supplemented Wichita, who was an impressive winner of the Tattersalls Stakes over the Dewhurst course and distance last month.

He could be joined by stable companion Arizona – third behind Pinatubo in the National Stakes, having won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier in the year.
The Ballydoyle quintet is completed by Harpocrates, Monarch Of Egypt and Year Of The Tiger.

Molatham is an interesting contender for Roger Varian, having won the Convivial Maiden at York and beaten Wichita in the Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster on his last two starts. He was narrowly beaten by Mums Tipple on his debut at Ascot.

The Clive Cox-trained Positive was no match for Pinatubo when runner-up at Glorious Goodwood, but could renew rivalry after a narrow victory in the Solario Stakes at Sandown.

Mark Johnston’s Iffraaz, Richard Hannon’s Mystery Power and the Charlie Hills-trained Royal Commando are the other hopefuls.

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Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor confirms Queen Elizabeth II Stakes aim for Benbatl

Press Association Sport 09:31 02/10/2019
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Benbatl will be aimed at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day following his impressive victory at Newmarket last week.

Returning after a lengthy absence, Saeed bin Suroor’s five-year-old looked a class apart in the Joel Stakes – brushing off the challenge of John Gosden’s King Of Comedy, who had previously run well in the St James’s Palace Stakes and Juddmonte International this season.

In the immediate aftermath, Bin Suroor raised the 10-furlong Qipco Champion Stakes as a possible alternative to the QEII – with his charge having won Group Ones over the longer distance in Germany and Australia.

However, the Godolphin trainer has now confirmed his charge will stick to a mile at Ascot on October 19.

“He came back well after the race and the plan now is to take him to the QEII,” said bin Suroor.

“He’s a horse who had been showing his class in the morning and was a Group One winner in the past – he won it well and he’ll be ready for Ascot now.

“A stiff mile is his best trip, I think, but he stays a mile and a quarter. I talked to Oisin (Murphy) and he agrees with me that the QEII is his race and I spoke to Sheikh Mohammed, who gave me the green light for the QEII.

“He’ll be ok with a bit of cut in the ground but we wouldn’t want it too soft.”

Mountain Hunter was the winner of a Listed race on the same afternoon – but his big targets are overseas, as they are with Chelmsford winner Bin Battuta.

“Mountain Hunter beat a good horse in Loxley to win a Listed race. He’ll go out to Dubai, but we could look to find a race before he goes,” the trainer added.

“We had him in the Melbourne Cup but he’s suited by Dubai racing, as is Bin Battuta.”

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby eyes Breeders' Cup Turf for Old Persian

Press Association Sport 16:38 22/09/2019
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The Breeders’ Cup Turf is next on Old Persian’s agenda following his latest top-level triumph in Canada last weekend.

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby’s charge has won nine of his 16 career starts to date – with his big-race victories including the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Great Voltigeur at York and the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.

The four-year-old disappointed in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on his return to European action, and was then a beaten favourite in a Group One in Germany last month.

However, he was back in the winning groove when dominating the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine last Saturday – and Appleby feels his charge has earned himself a trip to Santa Anita in early November.

He said: “We were delighted with Old Persian, and he’s come back home in good order.

“The Breeders’ Cup is in our sights – that was the pencilled plan going into the Northern Dancer, and I think he deserves a crack at it now.

“A mile and a half on the turf at Santa Anita should suit him well.”

A few days after the Breeders’ Cup has been run, Appleby will chase a second successive victory in the Melbourne Cup, with last year’s winner Cross Counter set to be joined by stable companion Ispolini.

Cross Counter could finish only fourth when a hot favourite for last Sunday’s Irish St Leger, but Ispolini was in winning form on the same afternoon – landing the German St Leger at Dortmund.

“The Irish Leger was a bit frustrating, because it was a messy race, and I know William (Buick) felt he could never get into any sort of rhythm,” Appleby added.

“We’re taking the positives out of it, and we feel he probably did well to run as well as he did in the circumstances.

“Because it wasn’t an end-to-end gallop, he didn’t have as hard a race as he might have done otherwise, and he’s come out of it well.

“Hopefully he’ll go straight back to the Melbourne Cup now, along with Ispolini. He was second to Cross Counter in Dubai earlier in the year, and ran well behind Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup.

“He got a bit tired the other day, which he was entitled to, and hopefully that will leave him spot on for Australia.”

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