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Red-hot Godolphin relishing Dewhurst with Pinatubo after more Shamardal success

Godolphin, fresh from launching another potential star of 2020 at Longchamp on Sunday in Victor Ludorum, are relishing the chance to see the horse who could hog the headlines next year with Pinatubo firmly on course for Saturday's Darley Dewhurst Stakes.

The son of Shamardal sizzled when thumping Armory by nine lengths in the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes last time, earning a whopping rating of 128, a higher figure than Frankel achieved as a juvenile and one only bettered twice in the last 30 years.

Trained by Charlie Appleby, who described his unbeaten colt as "the best two-year-old I've trained", Pinatubo is a general 1-3 chance to win Britain's premier juvenile event, although his task was made trickier on Monday when impressive Tattersalls Stakes winner Wichita was supplemented for £40,000 by the Coolmore partners.

Godolphin are not short of two-year-old stars this season and Sheikh Mohammed's operation has enjoyed top-level glory with Middle Park winner Earthlight and stablemate Victor Ludorum, who captured Sunday's Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp.

The emergence of homebreds Pinatubo, Earthlight and Victor Ludorum has allowed the spotlight to be shone on Darley sire Shamardal.

Hailing the son of Giant's Causeway, who won the Poule d'Essai des Poulains and Prix du Jockey Club during his racing career, Godolphin's managing director Hugh Anderson said: "Shamardal has had an extraordinary season so far. 

"Blue Point's Royal Ascot successes were remarkable and of course Castle Lady took the French 1,000 Guineas, too. But surely his greatest achievement has been to have sired two-year-olds of the quality of Pinatubo, Earthlight and Victor Ludorum.

"We look forward to the Dewhurst and then 2020 with great relish and optimism."

Godolphin's arch-rivals Coolmore will also be looking forward to next year when Wichita could give them something to smile about.

Derrick Smith, John Magnier and Michael Tabor will be grinning from ear to ear if the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt downs Pinatubo in the Dewhurst, which he is 100-30 to do with Coral, who make Roger Varian's Listed winner Molatham next best at 7-1.

Spokesman David Stevens said: "Although it would be a major surprise if Pinatubo's unbeaten record is ended this weekend, the presence of impressive last-time out winners Wichita and Molatham in the Dewhurst would at least ensure the 2,000 Guineas favourite faced a proper test."

The Dewhurst is the highlight of Newmarket's card on Saturday, which also features the £500,000 Emirates Cesarewitch.

Buildmeupbuttercup is among the 39 names left in the race after Monday's confirmations, as she bids to give Willie Mullins back-to-back wins in the 2m2f contest.

An inch of rain fell at Newmarket on Sunday leading to the fresh strip of Rowley Mile ground set to be used over the Future Champions festival to ease to an official description of soft.

Speaking on Monday, clerk of the course Michael Prosser said: "There's a chance of rain at any point this week but not necessarily of any major confidence. It will also be breezy throughout the week which could help dry the ground should we be fortunate enough to miss showers." 

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