Kameko is now the 4/1 favourite with bookies for the Epsom Derby following a gutsy win in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The first of the Rowley Mile Classics on Guineas Weekend saw last year’s champion juvenile Pinatubo lose his unbeaten record.
Oisin Murphy found his way through the field on the stands’ side blocked aboard 10/1 chance Kameko, so switched him out wide.
The reigning champion jockey did superbly well to squeeze the Kitten’s Joy colt through a gap when it appeared.
Kameko then stayed on despite edging out to his right, prevailing by a neck from Aidan O’Brien runner Wichita. They were a length clear of Pinatubo, while Godolphin’s Derby contender Military March was back in fourth.
Trainer Andrew Balding has always held Kameko in very high regard, so that faith has paid off. Owners Qatar Racing will now surely be tempted by running at Epsom Downs on 4 July.
Arizona, who was weak in the market on the morning of the race, ran well below expectation for O’Brien under Ryan Moore and finished 11th.
Analysis: A star is born but Kameko steals Pinatubo script
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
The stage was set for Pinatubo, yet he did not live up to his lofty reputation. On two-year-old ratings, he had 10lb in hand on Kameko but simply did not run up to that level.
Some thoroughbreds are precocious at two and don’t train on. It’s too early to make that judgment of Pinatubo, who was only beaten by 1 1/4 lengths.
Kameko has to be marked up for his 2000 Guineas success. The way that Murphy guided him through that gap which looked to be closing shows you why he was champion Flat jockey last season.
I won’t be piling in at 4/1 for the Derby, though. Kameko has arguably surpassed Qatar Racing’s other star colt by the same sire – Roaring Lion – now by winning a Classic.
Kitten’s Joy won a Grade 1 over the Epsom Derby trip, but this is not a normal year. Plenty more Classic clues will follow in Ireland throughout next week and at Royal Ascot which starts on 16 June.
There are other contenders to consider, including 2000 Guineas fourth Military March. He has something to find with Kameko on that form, but an extra four furlongs suits his stamina laden pedigree.
Wichita and Palace Pier among Royal Ascot market movers
Newmarket runner-up Wichita is now challenging Pinatubo for favouritism in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
There are just 13 days between the 2000 Guineas and the next British Group 1 for three-year-old colts. Wichita is 7/4 to confirm that Classic form with Pinatubo if the pair go for a rematch in Berkshire.
The fact that bookmakers still make Charlie Appleby’s Shamardal colt the 6/4 favourite is interesting. With his sire no longer with us, owners Godolphin will have to look elsewhere for future bloodstock.
Pinatubo had no excuses and ran below form for the first time in his career on the Rowley Mile. Whether either he or Wichita will be out so quickly again remains to be seen.
Palace Pier is next best in the St James’s Palace betting following his reappearance win at Newcastle. Trained by John Gosden, he skipped the 2000 Guineas and used a mile handicap at Newcastle as prep.
As Palace Pier won going away by a 3 1/4 lengths and is now three from three in minor events, he is clearly well above average. The next step is a crack at Group races.
More Sagaro success for Johnston
Mark Johnston saddled three in the feature 2m Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle, meanwhile, and had a one-two courtesy of Nayef Road and Mildenberger.
Course and distance winner Withhold was sent off favourite, but failed to fire for the stuttering Roger Charlton stable after dropping tamely away in the home straight.
Nayef Road – 66/1 with bookmakers for the Ascot Gold Cup before the Sagaro Stakes – led going easily two out and stayed on. He beat his stable companion by three-quarters of a length.
They finished 1 1/2 lengths clear of useful yardstick Prince Of Arran. Charlie Fellowes’ stable star has placed in the Melbourne Cup in each of the last two seasons.
The bookies now have Nayef Road at a best-price 25/1 for the Gold Cup on 18 June during Royal Ascot. Firms that have Mildenberger at 20/1 for that put the winner in at 16/1.
Victory for St Leger third Nayef Road boosts that Classic form. That bodes well for runner-up Sir Ron Priestley, who could have the Melbourne Cup on his agenda, and winner Logician.
Middleham trainer Johnston has now won four renewals of the Sagaro Stakes. The Gold Cup picture still revolves around Gosden’s star stayer Stradivarius – a tenderly handled third in the Coronation Cup on Friday.