Racing Expert & Columnist
Alex Hammond Blog: 'Incredible' Pinatubo and Ayr Gold Cup shortlist
Last Updated: 19/09/19 1:39pm
Our columnist reflects on Pinatubo's stunning National Stakes win and has her best bet for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.
Pinatubo's Curragh win at the weekend had figure-makers drooling. Is this the second coming, or are people getting a shade carried away at this stage?
Hey don't listen to me, the figures don't lie. The stat nerds spend an awful lot of time judging how good our racehorses are. They do it in an analytical fashion and aren't prone to exaggeration or inflating a performance. If Timeform feel he's worthy of a rating of 134p, (the 'p' is a suffix they use to suggest there is still some improvement to come) then I'm not going to argue; and why would I want to?
Godolphin's colt won at the Curragh in breath-taking style and the time reflects what an incredible performance it was. I can remember the likes of Celtic Swing and Arazi as juveniles and it's some reflection on his ability that only that duo were rated higher as two-year-olds. Arazi was so stunning in fact, that he was one of the horses that captured my imagination as a young racing fan and made me fall in love with the game and I think Pinatubo has the ability to enchant some new racing fans too.
Would I be backing him at 5/4 (with Sky Bet) for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at this stage? Not on your nelly. Anything can happen to a horse over the course of several months. However, I hope he comes through the winter unscathed and justifies that rating in the Newmarket Classic next spring and shows us once again how special he is. In the meantime, the Dewhurst could be on his agenda and he's going to be hard to peg back there.
The dust has settled on all the major Arc trials now - has Enable got anything to worry about going into her bid for history?
Well, a race like the Arc is never going to be a gimme, however much of a superstar you are. On Sunday ParisLongchamp staged their Arc Trials day and the likes of Waldgeist and Sottsass did their big-race chances no harm with wins in the Prix Foy and Prix Niel respectively.
Ghaiyyath looked special in winning a Group One in Germany and is now rated just a pound behind Enable, albeit he will have to give her weight at on the first Sunday of October as she gets a female sex allowance. Magical's win in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes puts her right in the thick of it and Deirdre, who was unlucky in that race, could be supplemented for the Arc in a bid to win Europe's most prestigious middle-distance prize for Japan for the first time.
Speaking of Japan, he's not done much wrong has he? His defeat of Crystal Ocean at York throws another fly into the ointment. So, as I said, a race like the Arc is never a gimme, but I hope she wins. I hope she becomes the first horse to win three Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphes and I hope you will watch it with us live on Sky Sports Racing, where we will be bringing you all the lowdown from the track on what will hopefully be a momentous day in our fabulous sport.
What's on the Ayr Gold Cup shortlist and could you offer a couple of others to consider for the weekend's action?
Well, the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup is a toughie but on my shortlist for the six-furlong handicap is Gulliver who isn't badly handicapped judged on his run at the Curragh last time out, he's a pound higher but can probably be classed as a bit unlucky as he was short of room and stayed on strongly all too late. He's well capable of popping up again here for David O'Meara. Jason Hart, who won on him at York in the summer is 'jocked up' on him at the time of writing. He's 12/1 with Sky Bet, which looks like each-way value.
Away from that cavalry charge, I hope Equilateral runs in Newbury's opening race on Saturday. Charlie Hills has always held this sprinter in high regard, but he was struggling to fulfil the potential he appeared to have this season. However, I saw him win at Doncaster last week in the Scarbrough Stakes and I'm hoping that overdue win (his first for a year) will open the floodgates. He's 3/1 with Sky Bet for the race.