Unbeaten colts Siskin and Pinatubo look set to clash in what is shaping up to be an almighty renewal of the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh next weekend.
Throw in the fast-improving Armory, who appears at this stage to be Aidan O’Brien’s best two-year-old colt, and the potentially explosive Group 1 clash looks set to have major repercussions on horse racing ante-post markets for next season.
Siskin will head into the National Stakes as the only Group 1 winner in the line-up thanks to his three-quarter length success over Monarch Of Egypt in the Phoenix Stakes, but he faces a formidable opponent in Pinatubo, who looks head and shoulders the best English-trained juvenile colt.
Ger Lyons, trainer of Siskin, said: “Siskin is in great shape and we have the National Stakes in mind, even if I'd be very nervous about taking on Pinatubo. Pinatubo was exceptionally impressive at Goodwood, but Siskin has a Group 1 win under his belt.
“I'd have no problem on nice ground taking on anyone over seven furlongs, and whatever beats Pinatubo will likely be champion two-year-old.
“It would certainly be a good duel, and the great thing about the timing of the race is that you can still run in the Dewhurst at the end of the campaign. If the ground dictates Siskin goes elsewhere he also has the option of the Middle Park.”
Confirmation of Siskin’s participation has seen a major shakeup in the betting, with the Phoenix Stakes winner slashed into 7/2 (from 6/1) with Coral, behind red-hot 4/6 favourite Pinatubo.
Coral’s Dave Stevens said: “Although Pinatubo remains odds-on favourite for what should be a top-class and informative National Stakes, Siskin is the sole Group One winner in the race, and with his trainer confirming he will run if the ground is good enough next Sunday, punters have been quick to take the bigger prices about the unbeaten colt.”
The Godolphin-owned Pinatubo cemented his place at the top of the two-year-old pecking order with a stunning five-length success in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, a performance that saw him rocket to the head of ante-post 2,000 Guineas lists.
Armory, who will attempt to give trainer Aidan O’Brien a 12th win in the National Stakes, looks the other key runner. He has done nothing but improve since his debut defeat and looked a colt going places when winning Futurity Stakes at The Curragh.