PINA COLADA TIME FOR TUBO
Pinatubo landed the first race of the Investec Derby Festival when justifying Even-money favouritism in the £60,000 Investec Woodcote EBF Conditions Race.
Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by James Doyle, the two-year-old son of Shamardal stumbled slightly out of the stalls and raced in last in the six-furlong contest as the Mark Johnston-trained Misty Grey (11/4) set a stern gallop under Franny Norton.
However, the Godolphin-owned colt knuckled down gamely in the home straight to master the long-time leader inside the final furlong, eventually scoring by a length and a half from the staying-on Oh Purple Reign (4/1), trained by Richard Hannon, who took second.
Royal Ascot looks the next port of call for Pinatubo who could head for either the six-furlong G2 Coventry Stakes (Tuesday, June 18) or the Listed Chesham (Saturday, June 22) over seven furlongs.
Winning trainer Appleby said: "James just said he got a bit upset in the gates there and just slipped on the way out.
"It wasn't ideal, but I always thought he wouldn't have the early toe for them as they were going to go a decent gallop.
"At one stage I was concerned as when Mark Johnston horses lead from the front like that, they are difficult to peg back. The leader went some decent fractions there and I was hopeful he would come back to the field, which he did.
"Once James moved Pinatubo down the hill in the straight, he stayed on strongly. It was a pleasing performance. He qualifies for the Chesham after winning this race and he does his best work at the finish, so stepping him up in trip would not worry me at all.
"We'll make the entries for the Coventry or the Chesham. We'll see how he comes out of this and then make a plan."
Betway make Pinatubo a 7/1 shot for the Coventry, Paddy Power go 10/1 and Betfair are 12/1.
2.00pm Investec Woodcote Stakes
1 Pinatubo (Godolphin) Charlie Appleby 2-9-05 James Doyle Evs fav
2 Oh Purple Green (Team Wallop) Richard Hannon 2-9-05 Sean Levey 4/1
3 Misty Grey (Barbara & Alick Richmond) Mark Johnston 2-9-05 Franny Norton 11/4
Time: 1m 9.22s
Distances: 1½, ¾
Tote Win: £1.70 Places: £1.10 £1.60 Exacta: £4.60
DOYLE OFF TO THE BEST OF STARTS
Despite a very bold front-running effort by Misty Grey, the evens favourite Pinatubo got the Investec Derby Festival off to a great start for trainer Charlie Appleby, owner Godolphin and jockey James Doyle by winning the opening Investec Woodcote EBF Conditions Race by a length and a half.
Oh Purple Reign finished second for Richard Hannon and Sean Levey with the Mark Johnston-trained long-time leader Misty Grey (Franny Norton) three-quarters of a length away in third.
Doyle said: "He was a bit restless in the gates, which caught me by surprise. He slipped leaving the gate, and obviously the leader tore off pretty quick, so I was a little bit worried early that the Mark Johnston horses, when they get away, you know certainly they will keep going. I was a little bit worried about pegging him back, especially across the road there.
"Tattenham Corner, he didn't come down the hill that great - he was all at sea, especially when I wanted to go and make up a bit of ground, which is never ideal.
"But he got the message in the end and got balanced up, and ran out a very good winner.
"Pinatubo's not short on pace; he showed that on his debut. He's got a good turn of foot. Whether he gets seven furlongs - on that evidence I think he will do. He powered through the line very well. Seven will definitely be achievable for him, and whether that's Ascot or after that we'll have to wait and see, but obviously Charlie's the man. He knows what he's doing, so I won't interfere!
"The ground is beautiful; exactly what you'd like for a day like today."
PROMISING EFFORTS BY PLACED JUVENILES
IN THE WOODCOTE
The Investec Woodcote EBF Conditions race over six furlongs for two-year-olds, the opening race of the Investec Derby Festival 2019, was taken along from the get-go at break-neck speed by Misty Grey (11/4).
In the end the pace was too much, and the Mark Johnston-trained colt faded into third, and it means that Johnston is revising his Royal Ascot plans.
"Franny said that the horse had a bit more control of the race than he did! He has just gone too quick early, and so it will back to five furlongs," said the trainer. "The thing to decide now is whether or not he runs again before Royal Ascot, and now the target there is going to be the Norfolk Stakes [Group 2, June 20]."
Oh Purple Reign (4/1) snatched second, running on well on the difficult Epsom course. He was a length and a half behind race winner Pinatubo and three-quarters of a length ahead of the third.
Jockey Sean Levey said: "He has run a blinder, it is hard for a two-year-old around there. He struggled with the track between the bend and the half a furlong marker, but when he hit the rising ground he took off."
The Sir Prancealot colt is trained by Richard Hannon who said: "We are very pleased. He's a bit inexperienced as they all are; he didn't handle the track and then he got the hang of it and ran on, he's obviously a very nice horse.
"From here we'd be looking at seven furlongs or six furlongs on a flat track. We are very pleased, it is a big step up on his first run."
GOING AFTER THE FIRST
James Doyle, jockey of the winner and Evens favourite Pinatubo, said: "Beautiful, lovely ground."
Sean Levey, rider of the one and a half-length second, 4/1 chance Oh Purple Reign, said: "Good to firm - mostly good. There is a lot of water on it."
Franny Norton, partner of Misty Grey, said: "Good ground."
Joey Haynes, on board Dancinginthewoods, said: "It is on the firm side."
Paddy Mathers, rider of Barry Magoo, said: "Good."
Harry Bentley, rider of Dragon Command, said: "Good to firm."