Pinatubo bounced right back to his best with victory in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat at Deauville on Sunday.
Charlie Appleby’s stable star and last season’s champion two-year-old was mentioned in the same breath as Frankel after an unbeaten six-race campaign.
The Shamardal colt was sent off a very strong favourite for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket but didn’t stay the mile as well as expected and could only muster up third in the Classic, won by Kameko.
Connections wanted to try him at a mile once more though but he came unstuck again behind Palace Pier at Royal Ascot, finishing runner-up in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Step back in trip is just what the doctor ordered
Pinatubo was sent off the 1/2 favourite in France on Sunday in the hands of William Buick but he certainly didn’t have it all his own way.
Buick found himself stuck in a pocket and was well covered up for the first half of the race but once the gap appeared, he cut through the field to get to the front and he wasn’t for catching from there.
Lope Y Fernandez gave him a good fight right to the line but Aidan O’Brien’s runner never looked like passing him.
Appleby said: “I’m delighted first and foremost for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed – another Group One-winning son of Shamardal for him – and I’m delighted for the horse, obviously.
“It sounds strange, but I felt he lost nothing in defeat in the Guineas or at Ascot. He went out with his heart on his sleeve and just got outgunned in the last 50 yards of both races.
“I came here today with plenty of confidence, to be honest. We knew dropping back to seven furlongs would be his bag – and while it was a bit of a rough race, as William said afterwards, when you’re riding a horse like him everything just seems so easy.
“The horse deserved that today, and I’m thrilled for him.”
Could he be US bound?
Considering future plans, the Newmarket handler added: “We’ll get the horse home and discuss things with Sheikh Mohammed.
“I don’t think we’ll be going to Goodwood for the Sussex, personally. He’s had three fairly quick runs at the top level now, and we might be better giving him a little bit more time.
“If we decided we wanted to stretch him out to a mile again, the obvious race is the Prix du Moulin, or if we wanted to stick at seven we could just wait for the Prix de la Foret before looking at taking him to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.”