Pinatubo is back – Prix Jean Prat betting preview as Charlie Appleby's star and other British raiders head to Deauville
WHAT a race we have in store on Sunday afternoon.
The betting may have it as one way Pinatubo traffic, but with the home team going in strong and the likes of Molatham, Kinross and Malotru heading across the Channel, it's as intriguing as it gets.
Last year's champion juvenile is yet to get off the mark at three. While it is far from last chance saloon – he's only had two goes in top company – connections must have hoped for a smoother start.
A Guineas defeat was a blow, then a length second to Palace Pier in the St James's Palace was another slap in the face.
It's not that the horse has not trained on. He has, just not at the rate of many of his now three-year-old rivals.
The mile trip was always going to be a question mark, judged mainly on the way he races, more than stamina or his temperament. He stayed in both tries this season, but it's hard not to think this drop to seven furlongs will not suit.
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It's very hard not to see this as the best opportunity Pinatubo will get at winning a Group 1 at three. He has everything in his favour and has already proven he can travel.
It will be bitterly disappointing if he doesn't win. But he is skinny enough and there is plenty of depth to this race, more so than usual.
Roger Varian's Molatham has clearly kicked on at three and had shown enough at two to suggest he was always going to be a big-race contender in his prime.
He put it together well at Royal Ascot, running away with the Jersey Stakes on ground probably softer than ideal.
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His defeat of Wichita at two continues to read well and he has clearly kicked on again.
The Jersey is only a Group 3 in name, but is arguably stronger than plenty of Group 2s throughout the summer and I think Varian's colt is a big enough price at around 6-1 and bigger to take on Pinatubo.
He would stay a mile no problem, but is blessed with plenty of speed.
The Godolphin team also run Well Of Wisdom – who may or not be a pacemaker – and it should ensure there is a decent gallop on. Not always the case in France.
But Molatham looks versatile tactics-wise, and the faster ground should be more to his liking than the sticky surface at Ascot.
Pinatubo is yet to reach the heights of his juvenile form lines, while Molatham has already improved. He also got better from run-to-run and you would think he could improve from his Jersey run. If that's the case, he has a good chance and I'd have him shorter than his current odds.
As ever, it is hard to weigh up the chances of the home team. Wooded improved for the drop to sprinting last time and was set for the Commonwealth Cup until a last minute hitch.
Of their fancied runners, Alson would be the one top of the shortlist. His last run was more than encouraging and he shaped as if the mile may have just caught him out late.
It was his first run of the year, but a drop back to seven furlongs is no negative anyhow. He's a danger.
Tropbeau has failed to kick on in two runs this year and is best-watched in this company.
Kinross and Malotru are the other two of note for us Brits.
Both are probably pitching in high, and it's hard to fancy Kinross off the back of his two efforts so far in Group 1 company.
That said, Ralph Beckett clearly believes in the horse and he could well improve on his Guineas effort. I would rather side with Malotru at the prices though. She has an electric turn of foot and this has been the plan a good way out.
Aidan O'Brien is never without a chance in a Group 1 and his pair of Arizona and Lope Y Hernandez both go with a shout. Preference would be for the latter.
BETTING ADVICE: 1pt win Molatham
Roger Varian's horse is on the up and a good enough price to take on Pinatubo with. I'd have him a few points shorter than he currently is, with Pinatubo closer to EVEN money.
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