Andrew Balding’s 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko impresses in prep’ work for the Derby

ANDREW Balding’s 2000 Guineas winner Kameko has impressed in a racecourse gallop ahead of next weekend’s blue riband Invesetc Derby at Epsom.

This was Kameko and Oisin Murphy after winning the 2000 Guineas - they're now leading contenders for the Derby next week.

ANDREW Balding’s 2000 Guineas winner Kameko has impressed in a racecourse gallop ahead of next weekend’s blue riband Invesetc Derby at Epsom.

No horse has followed up at Epsom having won the Guineas since Aidan O’Brien’s Camelot in 2012, although only Dawn Approach (2013) and Saxon Warrior (2018) have even tackled the double.

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While Kameko, owned by Qatar Racing, is a general second favourite for the blue riband behind Frankie Dettori’s mount English King, Balding is trying not to get carried away after his contender Bangkok faded out of contention in the big race a year ago.

Kameko and Oisin Murphy got up on the line to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Kameko, the mount of reigning champion jockey Oisin Murphy, underwent a piece of work at Kempton on Wednesday.

“You’d like to think he’s my best chance of winning it, but we’ve had five runners in it in the past and five disappointments – five big disappointments,” said Balding whose legendary father Ian trained 1971 Derby winner Mill Reef.

“I’m more relaxed than I might have been. I don’t want to get myself too excited like I did last year, but obviously we’ve got a strong candidate – he’s a Guineas winner going to a Derby. We’ve been really pleased with him, he’s a pleasure to train, a real professional.”

Balding has followed a similar routine with Kameko to that which served him so well before Newmarket. “He went to Kempton for a gallop, which we did before Newmarket 10 days prior, and it went well. We had the option of going to Epsom, but I felt more comfortable doing that at a place we’d done it before,” he said.

“We were all thrilled. It was an easy piece for him, relatively speaking, he worked with the same lead horses he worked with before the Guineas – not Group horses by any stretch – but he pulled clear very nicely.”

Balding reports Kameko is capable of lighting up the Kingsclere gallops more than any other he has ever trained. He explained: “We have a timing system for all fast work, and he’s got exceptional figures. He’s able to do sprinting fractions in his work without even being asked to do them. It just gives us scientific proof of what we are seeing with our eyes.”

However, while Kameko’s speed is not in doubt, his stamina will not be proven until the big day. “Obviously there is no way of knowing (if he’ll stay the trip) until you try,” added Balding.

“The figures show he’s very talented.

“The whole point of the Guineas and the Derby is that one is a test of speed and the other a test of temperament, stamina and agility.

“We’ve passed the speed test, now we’ve to pass the other.”

Meanwhile Godolphin’s Military March, fourth in the Guineas and trained by Saeed bin Suroorap, misses the Derby after suffering a slight setback.

And last year’s Dante winner Telecaster – who was then desperately disappointing in the Derby under the aforementioned Murphy – could return to York for August’s Juddmonte International.

It comes after Hughie Morrison’s colt returned to winning ways for the first time in more than a year when winning the Group Three La Coupe at ParisLongchamp.

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