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New Kids on the Block: Arizona

22 Jan 2020

This week our focus is on the Coventry winner, who went on to give Pinatubo a scare in the Dewhurst

Horse: Arizona
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Form: 2114325

Aidan O’Brien has trained the QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner a record ten times. He has his work cut out adding to that tally this year with Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo standing in the way, but that is unlikely to prevent the master of Ballydoyle trying. Arizona seems certain to form part of O’Brien’s Guineas team and the Coventry winner cannot be left out of calculations after subsequently making Pinatubo dig deep in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October.
The Group 1 feature, so often a good guide to the Guineas, was expected to be something of a cakewalk for Pinatubo, who went off 1/3 to make it six wins from six starts.
However, front-running Arizona resisted him until a furlong out, and was only two lengths behind at the line. That was seven lengths closer than he previously had in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh the previous month.

The suspicion is that Arizona was not at his best at the Curragh, or when previously fourth in the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville before that. For instance, he finished behind Golden Horde in the French contest, having previously had him back in fifth when landing the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. It was hard not to be impressed with Arizona at the Royal Meeting as the son of No Nay Never won despite looking raw. Having previously won a 6f maiden at the Curragh, he stayed on strongly to beat Threat, subsequent dual Group 2 winner, by half a length. It was O’Brien’s eighth Coventry success, although it is worth pointing out that none of his previous seven victors have been among his Guineas winners at Newmarket.
Arizona journeyed to America for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf after his Dewhurst run but had little chance at Santa Anita after being slow away from a wide draw. In the circumstances he did well to be beaten less than two lengths into fifth.

The bookmakers are divided about his Guineas claims, with his ante-post odds ranging between 10/1 and 20/1. There is some stamina on the dam’s side of his pedigree but it will be a surprise if he has enough staying power to make up into an Investec Derby contender.