2000 Guineas contender Kameko has connections waxing lyrical about his Classic claims. Trainer Andrew Balding made a comparison with owners Qatar Racing’s previous star colt Roaring Lion.
Kameko is 10/1 with most bookmakers for the 2000 Guineas. That Classic contest over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket has a provisional date of 6 June.
“He is not the flashiest horse in his routine exercise,” Balding said of Kameko. “But he has always been the type that, every time you ask him for a little bit more, he’s given and improved for it.”
“[Jockey] Oisin [Murphy] was always saying of Roaring Lion, who was by Kitten’s Joy, he seemed to just thrive on racing and every time he ran he just got better and better. I think this horse is very similar.”
Balding knows what it takes to train a Classic winner, having saddled Casual Look to win The Oaks at Epson. Some 17 years on from that triumph, he hopes Kameko can land the 2000 Guineas.
This horse is by the same sire – Kitten’s Joy – as Roaring Lion who won four Group 1s in his career. Kameko pleased jockey Murphy in a recent racecourse gallop at Kempton Park.
“It was important that he went away and got a good blowout without doing anything crazy,” said Murphy. “He has a lovely turn of foot, as we all saw last year, but he’s also very relaxed and you can put him anywhere.
“From a jockey’s point of view, that’s very exciting and it leaves you with plenty of options. He goes to Newmarket with a massive chance.”
Kameko won the Vertem Futurity Trophy – a Group 1 over the straight mile for juveniles – on his final start last season. That race is usually run at Doncaster, but switched to the all-weather at Newcastle.
Analysis: Kameko out to better Roaring Lion
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
Roaring Lion came fifth in the 2000 Guineas and third in The Derby, so connections hope for better from Kameko. The Futurity Trophy has been a guide to Classic winners in recent years.
The market move for Kameko comes as punters try to find an each-way alternative to hot favourite Pinatubo, but you can’t blame them.
Last year’s champion juvenile makes a worthy market leader. Pinatubo is unbeaten and brings leading form claims into the 2000 Guineas, but a poor price.
Roaring Lion really came into his own during the second half of his three-year-old campaign. All four of his Group 1 victories came from July onwards, so Kameko has already done more.
If he can have similar success to Qatar Racing’s ill-fated colt, then Kameko should be some horse to watch this season.
A mile-and-a-quarter was optimum for Roaring Lion. Wins in the Eclipse, Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes are evidence of that.
Kameko’s own pedigree – his dam is by Rock Of Gibraltar – suggests something similar. This 2000 Guineas remains a much anticipated renewal.