Ed Chamberlin reflects on events in Newmarket as Pinatubo steals the show in the Dewhurst Stakes

Ed Chamberlin reflects on a dramatic weekend at Newmarket
Ed Chamberlin reflects on a dramatic weekend at Newmarket

Ed Chamberlin looks back on a busy week at Newmarket which saw Pinatubo confirm himself as the outstanding juvenile of 2019.


The way sport, and racing in particular, keeps moving forward never ceases to amaze me and only seven days on from Enable's agonising defeat in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, I am reflecting on another busy week, one which saw Pinatubo maintain his unbeaten record with victory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

More on him later but there has been plenty going on in Newmarket this week, notably the Book One Tattersalls sales which saw racing's heavyweights splash the cash in their quest to unearth the next Enable or Pinatubo.

I was delighted to join my Sporting Life colleague Ben Linfoot down there on Thursday and we had a really interesting day, one which we both found highly informative, and I must say thanks those involved because we were given brilliant access to everyone from the auctioneers, bloodstock agents, owners and trainers.

It is fair to say that my highlight was interviewing Sir Mark Prescott about the Cesarewitch which still remains his racing hoodoo after he was out of luck again in the big race on Saturday. Sir Mark was in brilliant form and I loved his tongue in cheek quote about 'the beastly Mr Mullins and those National Hunt trainers' who keep coming and plundering the big staying handicaps.

Sir Mark will be puffing with fury on his cigar after Mullins won the race yet again but I think we can all appreciate what a wonderful trainer the latter is across both codes.

On Friday I was lucky enough to be invited to have a tour with Racing Welfare of their new housing project in Newmarket and I must admit to having had very little knowledge beforehand of just how much incredible work the charity do within the racing industry.

I hope lots of people saw their incredibly moving video and story involving mental health on ITV Racing on Saturday and of course, it's been a huge week for mental health with World Mental Health Day on Thursday.

Racing Welfare help a staggering 2,500 people across the industry. I initially thought that would be mainly stable staff but Racing Welfare will help anyone who works in the industry and the most important thing going forward is that nobody suffers in silence.

They have a 24-hour helpline and as we've been saying with our ITV campaign over the last few weeks, Britain Get Talking.

From the housing project, it was a quick dash across to a big morning for the Injured Jockeys Fund, for whom I am a trustee, with the official opening of Sir Peter O'Sullivan House in Newmarket.

This is an incredible facility which I encourage everybody to go and visit and as Fran Berry said recently, jockeys have never had it so good in terms of fitness, mental health and conditioning.

We were delighted to have such a good turnout on the day with the likes of Lester Piggott, Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore all there to offer their support and I must pay tribute to Sir Anthony McCoy's speech.

He spoke absolutely brilliantly at the opening, making such an inspiring talk and we at the Injured Jockeys Fund are so pleased to have three corners of the racing world covered with Jack Berry House in Malton, Oaksey House in Lambourn and now Sir Peter O'Sullivan House in Newmarket.

We owe a great debt to these jockeys and bravery they show every day and I hope people can throw their support behind Racing Welfare and the Injured Jockeys Fund - racing is lucky to have two brilliant charities.

The next dash was to get to the racecourse to interview 168 year eight children who were on the Godolphin Future Champions Education Programme.

They say in Television to never work with children or animals but I have to say these kids were hugely impressive. They were all local children who'd had a wonderful week visiting every racing facility that Newmarket has to offer and it was topped off by a surprise visit from Sheikh Mohammed himself.

We all realise that the next generation is so important for the future of racing and I was thrilled that almost all of the 168 children finished the week by saying they wanted to work in racing, though I'm not sure how well it went down when 13-year-old Edward proclaimed he wanted to work at Coolmore!

On the track, the highlight on Friday was Quadrilateral bravely winning the Fillies Mile' for trainer Roger Charlton, something that seemed unlikely at halfway when the Frankel filly looked in big trouble.

It was interesting that immediately after the race my colleague Jonny Murtagh felt she would be an Oaks filly and not a 1000 Guineas filly but Charlton confirmed the plan was to come back to Newmarket in May, a really exciting decision for the sport in my opinion.

Roger is a wonderful trainer, a positive voice within racing and someone who gets the big picture. I've always found him to be an engaging interview and my wish for 2020 would be Classic glory for the Charlton family some 40 years after Quest For Fame landed the Epsom Derby for them back in 1990.

Fair play to Hugo Palmer who looked heartbroken after his filly Powerful Breeze ran such a gallant race in defeat. Kudos for him for fronting up and speaking after the race, and beforehand after Powerful Breeze had got loose in the paddock, and it says everything about our sport that people are willing to do that.

On the same theme, full marks also to Frankie Dettori who came on the Opening Show on Saturday morning and I loved his honesty for saying he shed a tear after Enable's defeat in Paris last week.

It can't have been easy for him after a difficult week and I thought his review of the race was fascinating. As yet, there is no news on what the future holds for Enable but wouldn't it be sensational if owner Khalid Abdullah decided to race her at six? We can but dream.

Saturday, though, really belonged to Godolphin who are riding the crest of a wave after victory in the sales ring and victories on the racecourse, notably with Earthlight, Victor Lodorum and then on Saturday with Military March and the brilliant Pinatubo.

I'm a massive advocate of syndicates in racing and I love nothing more than seeing the small owner winning on ITV Racing but I also like powerhouses going to head in the highest level at sport.

In my days presenting football, you longed for Manchester United versus Liverpool at the height of their powers yet in my six years covering the Premier League that never actually happened.

Next season it looks like we'll have Coolmore and Godolphin going head to head and for the first time in a long time, Godolphin might just have the edge.

There might not have been the fireworks from Pinatubo this time but in many ways I like this performance more. It showed that he's got guts as well as brilliance.

Beforehand it was fascinating to hear Francesca Cumani describe him as an adorable little thing who was like a kid sauntering round the playground - he really does have the most extraordinary temperament but on the track he's a monster.

The ground blunted his brilliance at the end of a long season but as Johnny and Jason Weaver always say, the best horses always find a way to win which is exactly what Pinatubo did.

What might not have been picked up in the immediate aftermath of the race was that Aidan O'Brien was one of the first to congratulate Charlie Appleby and his team. It was a wonderful touch from Aidan, a classy moment and another reason to be so proud of our sport

As things stand, Godolphin are set for a winter of content. Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Pinatubo has been there and done that and has once again stamped his unquestionable authority on the juvenile division. He's a champion this year and now, the racing world is left salivating at what might be in store next season.

Pinatubo is now dormant for the winter but is set to erupt again in May.

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