- British stars Arizona and Pinatubo to face off in 2000 Guineas
- O’Brien looking for four-consecutive Guineas wins
- Appleby pleased with Pinatubos preparation
In the first British Classic for the season, Pinatubo and Arizona are set to be a race within a race as the duo face off for the third time in the 2000 Guineas.
Aidan O’Brien is confident that Arizona won’t have any problems covering the distance when he steps up to contest the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket next week.
O’Brien has won the race for three consecutive years running, and the Ballydoyle trainer believes Arizona can deliver the stable a fourth victory.
A win in the 2020 edition would give O’Brien his fifth Guineas title in six years and he’s buoyed by the fact Arizona’s win in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot last year ended on a high note.
“Arizona is in good form,” O’Brien said.
“Everything has gone well with him.
“Obviously we had our eye on the first weekend of May, but he seems to be in good form. He was getting ready for that, then we just eased back a little bit.
“”He’s a big, rangy, scopey horse and we always thought he would improve from two to three and it would suit him being a three-year-old.
“We’ll see – he ran a very good race to win the Coventry and ran some very good races after that. We think he’s ready to start.”
However, there is one roadblock in the way for O’Brien and Arizona, and that is the running hot Pinatubo out of the Charlie Appleby stable.
Arizona was a whopping nine-lengths off the Godolphin star in last year’s Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, but in the duos next meeting, the Colt was only two lengths off Pinatubo when the pair fronted up to the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes in October.
Appleby said on Wednesday in a Zoom press conference that Pinatubo’s preparation had gone off without a hitch.
“The races are going to come thick and fast in the first few weeks and we will have to see what comes to the table,” Appleby said.
“If he wins the Guineas by three or four lengths we would probably be looking at the St James’s Palace [at Royal Ascot a fortnight later] but if he just wins or, God forbid, gets beat it could suggest that a step up in trip is going to suit him.
“Hopefully we will have those answers after the Guineas.”
Pinatubo’s incredible juvenile season returned a rating of 128, making him the highest-rated juvenile in over 25 years.
“He’s the ultimate professional – he’s like any sportsman at the top end,” Appleby said.
“You generally don’t see them fretting coming into a championship competition, whether it be boxing, golf or the like.
“Those cool, calm characters are often the ones who turn up with their A Game and channel their positivity into the swing of the club or punch of the glove.
“He’s not a horse that will light you up too much in the mornings but he’s shown all his professionalism as a three-year-old career in his training.
“He goes about business and does what’s asked of him. In doing so, he’s met every challenge that we’ve set him so far in his preparation.”