Wednesday, 03rd Jun 2020
Kameko looks each-way value against red-hot 2000 Guineas favourite Pinatubo in the first Classic of the British Flat season at Newmarket this Saturday (15:35).
Trained by Andrew Balding for Qatar Racing, this Kitten’s Joy colt won the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy last term.
That has been a good guide for recent winners of the Rowley Mile Classic the following year. Although the Group 1 straight mile contest moved to Newcastle’s all-weather track from Doncaster last autumn, that doesn’t devalue the form.
Kameko made smooth headway and led approaching the final furlong. Regular jockey Oisin Murphy asked him to put the race to bed and he did so comfortably.
As he ran out a 3 1/4 lengths winner over a trio of Aidan O’Brien horses, Kameko commands respect. Although beaten on his previous two starts in Group company, they were narrow margins – a nose and a neck.
Balding’s stable has also been among the winners since horse racing restarted in the UK. That is another plus for his 2000 Guineas contender.
While Kameko has 10lb to find with Pinatubo on juvenile ratings, he looks solid value for the frame minimum. It is better backing him for the place than the market leader to win.
Nobody can deny Pinatubo is the right favourite for this Classic contest. Trained by Charlie Appleby for the powerful Godolphin operation, he was the undisputed champion juvenile last season.
Pinatubo is officially the best two-year-old this century off a lofty rating of 128. Now the Shamardal colt must live up to the hype.
After an easy debut victory on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, Pinatubo followed-up in the Woodcote Stakes during the Derby Festival on Epsom Downs about 12 months ago.
He then made the step up to Listed company look effortless with a strong performance in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Group company beckoned for Pinatubo. He confirmed that he was something special with scintillating performances in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and the National Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend.
Pinatubo went to the Emerald Isle and thrashed Armory by nine lengths. It was a devastating display and form he confirmed with third home, Arizona, on admittedly less desirable soft ground in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes here.
The return to a sounder surface is a clear plus for Pinatubo. There is no reason to think Arizona should turn the tables after two clear victories.
Bookmakers must have Pinatubo favourite, but his price reflects that superiority over his peers. There is little value in punters backing him at odds-on, so looking at what runs into a place is our recommendation.
Of those at bigger odds and outside the market principals, Wichita is a Group winner at Newmarket.
One of three/four in the 2000 Guineas for Ballydoyle master O’Brien this year, this No Nay Never colt won two of his four juvenile outings.
Wichita landed a Curragh maiden under a largely hands and heels ride and then chased home Molatham in a Listed contest at Doncaster.
There was lots to like about his Tattersalls Stakes success over 7f on the Rowley Mile next time out. Wichita pressed the leader and hit the front two out.
He was then ridden well clear in the final furlong and scored by seven very decisive lengths. Although then 4 3/4 lengths behind Pintaubo in the Dewhurst, the soft ground may not have suited.
As with the favourite, the return to better going should see Wichita to better effect. He has more potential progress in him than stable companion Arizona who is more exposed.
This demands more, but Wichita is capable of further improvement. He is another to consider in what will go down in history as a rare June running of the 2000 Guineas.