Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S
Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S

Many UK racing fans are asking if Pinatubo is the next Frankel. With six wins from six starts as a juvenile, bookies quote the Charlie Appleby-trained colt at 8-10 for June’s 2,000 Guineas.

What a pleasure to be discussing horses again instead of when racing will resume but, as reported on Tuesday, there are positive signs UK racing will restart at Newcastle on Monday.

Pinatubo, a son of Shamardal who died a month ago, looked a class act when winning the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2019, but it was the rout of his rivals in the grade 1 National Stakes at the Curragh that really set pulses racing.

Under a cool ride from William Buick, Pinatubo simply went further and further away in the final furlong with the commentator declaring: “He’s won by a street”.

Of course, it is premature to compare Appleby’s promising colt with Frankel who became a household name and retired unbeaten in 14 starts.

One racing scribe, reflecting on Frankel’s career, said: “He didn’t just win — he destroyed fields and made top quality racehorses look like handicappers.”

Six dangers

Pinatubo is a Filipino name, but he races in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai. He might be aimed at a race there later in his career.

So who could lower Pinatubo’s colours in the 2,000 Guineas scheduled for June 6? There are six possible dangers: Arizona, Kameko, Alson, Military March, Threat and Kinross.

Of this sextet, it is little surprise given his outstanding record in the Guineas that Arizona, a three-year-old from Aidan O’Brien’s stable, is second favourite (8-1 with Bet365 but only 11-2 with Skybet).

Last season, Arizona won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, but finished two lengths adrift of Pinatubo in the Dewhurst Stakes. If the colt wins the Guineas, it will be O’Brien's fifth success in the past six years.

Trainer Andrew Balding is housing a progressive colt in Kameko (11-1 with Bet365) and the son of American sire Kitten’s Joy went into many notebooks when winning the Vertem Futurity Stakes at Newcastle in November.

Kinross, a member of Ralph Beckett’s powerful yard, finished behind Kameko in that Newcastle race but had previously won impressively on debut at Newmarket.

Won four

French trainer Andre Fabre, who won the 2019 Arc De Triomphe with Waldgeist, has indicated to the racing media that he intends running his three-year-old Alson in the Guineas. He believes the course undulations should fit the horse’s strengths.

In his first season, Alson won four races, including the Criterium International at Longchamp in October. Earlier that month, he had run second to Victor Ludorum at the Arc De Triomphe meeting.

As Frankie Dettori rode Alson on his last two starts the colt’s price of 19-1 will shorten dramatically if the world-renowned jockey is booked for the ride.

Threat, trained by Richard Hannon, had a busy first season but his victory in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in September has earned him a quote of 15-1 for the Guineas.

If there is a horse this writer will be interested in if he runs in the Investec Derby it is trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s colt Military March. That is not to say the three-year-old will not win the Guineas as he is unbeaten in his two starts with his principal success coming in the Dubai Autumn Stakes at Newmarket in October.

However, it is Military March’s pedigree that suggests he’s a live Derby prospect. He is a son of a Derby winner in New Approach out of the Yorkshire Oaks winner Punctilious.

Timeform ratings for 2019 put Pinatubo (134) about 14 points clear of Kameko (120) followed by Arizona (119), Mums Tipple (119) and Military March 118.

If anyone believes that Timeform have got their sums wrong, the suggestion is to watch Pinatubo’s National Stakes win at the Curragh on YouTube, a simply dominant performance.