Shamardal’s Pinatubo leads the way

It’s nearly halfway through the season and time for Simon Rowlands to assess the leading two-year-olds to date.

Newmarket’s July Meeting, just completed, represents something of a watershed in the European flat season. The majority of the Classics have been run, and Royal Ascot is now behind us. Those Group races to have taken place have been almost exclusively for three-year-olds and older horses. From this point on, however, those age-groups will have to compete more obviously for attention with the emerging two-year-old crop.

There are, however, quite a few juveniles in Britain and Ireland to have staked claims already, in races big and small. My assessments – based on overall times adjusted for the sectionals which gave rise to them – have 35 two-year-olds on a figure of 100 or higher at this stage.

It is interesting to consider what they tell us, not just about the youngsters themselves, but about the stallions that have sired them. These are the leading dozen.

Leading GB/Ire 2-y-os on time to 15 July 2019

Horse Time Sire
Pinatubo 116 Shamardal
Raffle Prize 113 Slade Power
Mystery Power 112 No Nay Never
Arizona 110 No Nay Never
Juan Elcano 109 Frankel
Sunday Sovereign 109 Equiano
Threat 109 Footstepsinthesand
Visinari 109 Dark Angel
Daahyeh 108 Bated Breath
Guildsman 108 Wootton Bassett
Kimari 108 Munnings
Siskin 108 First Defence

There is a healthy variety within the bigger group, with fully 28 sires represented by the 35 individual two-year-olds, and none more than twice. The seven stallions which doubled up are as follows:

  • Cable Bay, the first-season sire of the Queen Mary Stakes fourth and Sandown Listed winner Liberty Beach (105) and of Ropey Guest (102), who was sixth in the Coventry Stakes and fourth in the Superlative Stakes. 
  • Dark Angel, sire of spectacular maiden winner and July Stakes third Visinari (109) and Queen Mary Stakes/Duchess of Cambridge Stakes third Final Song (106).
  • Gleneagles, a freshman sire responsible for the July Stakes winner Royal Lytham (106) and the Windsor Castle Stakes winner Southern Hills (100).
  • Kingman, whose progeny include the impressive Listed winner Summer Romance (106) and the easy maiden winner, though beaten at odds-on in a Listed race since, Full Authority (104).
  • Lope de Vega, sire of the maiden winner and Chesham Stakes second Lope Y Fernandez (104) and the Windsor Castle Stakes/July Stakes runner-up Platinum Star (106)
  • No Nay Never, whose offspring include the Superlative Stakes winner Mystery Power (112) and the Coventry Stakes winner Arizona (110). 
  • Society Rock, sadly deceased, whose A’Ali (106) won the Norfolk Stakes and Bomb Proof (100) scored in a useful time in a minor event at York. 

Some familiar names are among the singletons also. There are reasons to regard 116-rated Pinatubo (by Shamardal) as the pick of the crop currently, following his clear-cut win in a Chesham Stakes run in a time not much slower than the following Jersey Stakes and with a sub-24.0s final 2f.

Shamardal’s son Pinatubo is currently the highest-rated 2yo following his record-breaking win in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Shamardal’s son Pinatubo is currently the highest-rated 2yo following his record-breaking win in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Raffle Prize (Slade Power) not only won by a wide margin at Chester, and by a narrow one from Kimari in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, but smashed the track record in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket, running a 112 timefigure which gets raised to 113 due to quite quick late splits.

Frankel is represented by Juan Elcano, who followed a minor Haydock debut win by running Mystery Power to a length in that Superlative Stakes, the time of which compares favourably with the good older-horse handicaps that followed.

The 109 rating and lofty position of Sunday Sovereign (Equiano) owes nothing to his performance at Royal Ascot, where he flopped as a short-priced favourite in the Norfolk Stakes, and everything to his beating Arizona at the Curragh, then running a fast time when winning by seven lengths at Tipperary.

Such elite performers are the tip of an iceberg, of course. A look at the leading sires by average best Timeform performance rating to date gives a rather different picture. Only sires with more than five individual representatives are shown, and a lower limit of 40 was set in order that averages would be meaningful. 

Top 2-y-o sires on Timeform (to 15/July/2019)

Frankel 6 84.2
War Front 15 83.3
Kingman 14 82.6
Gleneagles 13 81.6
Shamardal 7 80.3
Siyouni 12 79.4
Lope de Vega 6 77.3
Galileo 13 76.7
Dubawi 14 76.4
Invincible Spirit 10 76.4
Night of Thunder 17 74.2
No Nay Never 32 73.7
Starspangledbanner 24 72.2
Golden Horn 6 72.2

Frankel’s small cohort includes the promising maiden Heaven Forfend (rated 95p by Timeform) as well as the aforementioned Juan Elcano; War Front has the Naas fillies’ Group 3 one-two Etoile (97p) and Peace Charter (95) waiting in the wings; Kingman has the wide-margin Navan winner Alligator Alley (96p) and the once-raced Tsar (89P) ready to come off the bench. 

All of those juveniles are either useful or promise to be, especially the John Gosden-trained Tsar, who entered many a notebook after his fourth in a maiden at the Newmarket July Meeting. Al Madhar (by Siyouni), Al Suhail (Dubawi) and First Receiver (New Approach) were the three that finished ahead of Tsar that day, with all four comfortably breaking 34.0s for the final 3f. It is a race that could easily produce plenty of winners, and those are sires that could be more visible in the earlier list a few months from now. 

There is much still to be played for. 

About the author

Simon Rowlands

Simon Rowlands worked for many years for Timeform and is now a freelance horseracing writer and analyst. He contributes regularly to – among others – The Irish Field, At The Races and Timeform, specialising in numerically-based and data-driven content, including through form and time ratings.

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