Kameko wins 2,000 Guineas as Pinatubo disappoints
Champion jockey Oisin Murphy propelled the 10-1 shot led by Andrew Balding leading the last half of the last Rowley Mile to relegate Frankie Dettori to Wichita in second position.
Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo, undefeated in six races at two and with an official rating higher than the legendary Frankel, was likely under jockey William Buick, but could not find this additional equipment when it mattered.
Murphy, winner of his first classic, kept Wichita at bay with an impressive turn, and his horse, belonging to Qatari sheikh Fahad al-Thani, was installed as a favorite for next month’s Epsom derby.
Balding, who had every confidence after Kameko’s impressive performance in his last race at the age of two, is now aiming for the biggest prize in the English dish.
“To me it seems like the obvious choice, there would be some doubt about endurance, but there is only one way to find out,” he told ITV Racing.
Wichita, beaten by a neck, was looking to give prolific coach Aidan O’Brien an 11th win at 2000 Guineas, but Murphy had too much in hand despite Kameko hanging right in the finals.
“It means the absolute world to me, it’s the stuff of dreams,” said Murphy.
“It was a brave performance. He barely blew a candle afterwards – he must have enormous capacity.”
With his horse in comparison with the great Frankel, who had won the 2000 Guineas 2011 and was unbeaten in 14 starts, Appleby had to digest a shock defeat, beaten over the entire length by the winner.
“Obviously, I am disappointed because this is the first time the horse has been beaten in its career, but at least it has not fallen from the back of the TV,” he said.
Pinatubo is likely to go to St James’s Palace Stakes at the famous Royal Ascot meeting later this month, Appleby confirmed.
Horse racing did not return to Britain earlier this week after the coronavirus was locked out.
Like other sports, the action takes place without spectators and with strict hygiene rules in place.
This meant a delayed start to the classic season, with the Epsom derby postponed by a month although Royal Ascot retained its traditional place on the calendar.