Feature Races

Five things we learned about the Flat: Pinatubo stands tall

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Pinatubo won the Dewhurst Stakes in excellent fashion at Newmarket on Saturday.
Pinatubo won the Dewhurst Stakes in excellent fashion at Newmarket on Saturday.

We pick out five key talking points from a brilliant weekend of action on the Flat, with big races taking place both in the UK and Ireland...

Pinatubo confirms quality with Dewhurst glory

The highlight of the weekend came at Newmarket Races on Saturday, as the brilliant Pinatubo put a bow on a remarkable season with yet another victory. The Godolphin-owned star was made to work harder than when we last saw him at the Curragh, but he was still too good for the field to win the Dewhurst Stakes in testing ground and confirm himself as one of the most exciting juveniles we have seen in recent years.

The manner of the two-length win wasn't necessarily top-class to the eye, but he showed a battling quality we haven't seen before after the rain on Suffolk, and now connections will put the horse away ahead of his classic season. The 2000 Guineas remains the first aim for the Charlie Appleby horse, for which he is a shade of odds-against for, although there is stamina in the pedigree so don't rule out a crack at the Derby in June, provided he stays sound.

Quadrilateral edges out fillies mile rivals

It wasn't all about the boys on the Rowley Mile this weekend, with Quadrilateral starring in the Fillies' Mile on Friday afternoon. The Group 1 contest over one mile is always a top drawer race, and we look to have seen a quality winner this time, as the Roger Charlton-trained daughter of Frankel got the better of Powerful Breeze in a thrilling finish.

It was a third win on the bounce for Quadrilateral and by far her best up to this point, with the future looking bright for a horse who wears the famous Prince Khalid Abdullah colours. The 1000 Guineas has to be the clear aim, given the course and distance form now on her CV, and don't be surprised if she gets further in time - given the way she closed out her race on the rail when looking beaten two furlongs from home.

Jumps supremo Mullins dominates on the Flat

At this time of year we are more used to seeing the Willie Mullins runners appearing over Jumps in Ireland, but the all-powerful handler continues to dip his toes into the Flat waters and with huge success. The master of Closutton won both the British and Irish versions of the Cesarewitch at the weekend, with Stratum at Newmarket and Royal Illusion at the Curragh getting their heads in front at 25/1 and 10/1 respectively, over a stellar weekend.

The famous National Hunt trainer has been having an increased amount of success on the level in recent years, and this weekend was further proof that Mullins remains one of the most respected horsemen in the history of the sport. It won't be long before we see the likes of Kemboy and Al Boum Photo strut their stuff over fences - and there is no doubt their trainer starts the winter in cracking form on this evidence.

O'Brien juveniles to head Stateside

The Flat season may be approaching the final furlong for 2019, but there is still the small matter of the Breeders' Cup to come next month and we are starting to get a clearer idea of the European runners heading across the pond. Aidan O'Brien was delighted with the way Arizona and Wichita performed in defeat to Pinatubo in the Dewhurst on Saturday, and there are now suggestions that one, if not both, could head to California next month.

Arizona in particular impressed as he put a strong showing in second place, and given his Coventry Stakes win, connections seem keen to extend his season if possible, while Wichita lost nothing in finishing third, having been supplemented at a late stage. Any Ballydoyle runner is to be respected in the Breeders' Cup as O'Brien has shown on a number of occasions and it appears as if the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf is the likely target for the pair of young stars.

Enable could race on in 2020

It is difficult to get Enable out of the news this year, even after her defeat in the Arc earlier this month, and she has once again been the subject of much speculation, with the racing career of one of the greatest horses in recent memory under discussion. The John Gosden-trained legend has been ruled out of a run at Ascot on Champions Day this weekend coming, which only leaves the possibility of a Breeders' Cup appearance left in 2019.

The possibility of running in America does seem remote, though, after a long season, and now there are shock rumours emerging that the five-year-old could even race on into 2020. It would be a huge shot in the arm for Flat racing if we did see Enable at six, but it does now seem a genuine possibility given the noises coming from the connections over the last few days. Enable narrowly failed to win her third Arc recently but maybe, just maybe, she might have one more crack at racing immortality next autumn.

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