Balding: 'Kameko similar to Roaring Lion and we're all very excited about him'

Andrew Balding drew a comparison between four-time Group 1-winner Roaring Lion and Kameko as he talked up the chances of his 2,000 Guineas contender on Tuesday. 

Last year's Vertem Futurity Stakes winner at Newcastle, Kameko is a general 10-1 chance for Guineas glory. Along with Balding, the colt's big-race jockey Oisin Murphy rates him as a serious challenger. 

“He's a big framed horse. He's not the flashiest horse in his routine exercise but he's always been the type that, every time you ask him for a little bit more, he's given and improved for it,” Balding said on a Zoom call organised by QIPCO. 

“Oisin 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,” the Classic-winning trainer added.

Like everyone, Balding admitted to have been somewhat thrown in his prepping of Kameko for the 2,000 Guineas, originally slated for May 2 but now due to take place at Newmarket on June 6.

However, Kameko is reported to have come through a racecourse gallop at Kempton last week in sparkling form, leaving Balding and Murphy dreaming about what might come to pass on the rearranged date. 

Balding said: “I'm really pleased with him. He had a quiet period during the winter months and we got him back into faster work around Cheltenham time, which was when lockdown happened. 

“At the time we were obviously still hoping that the Guineas would be on its original date in the beginning of May, so we had a period where we were cranking up the work.”

He added: “When we realised that wasn't the case he was let down a little bit and I couldn't be happier with him at the moment. He had a gallop at Kempton last week – Oisin rode him – and I couldn't have been happier by the way he went. He looks magnificent and he's a lovely horse to have anything to do with. We're all very excited.”

On that racecourse gallop, Murphy, who revealed he has the choice of two high-profile fillies in the 1,000 Guineas that he wouldn’t name, described himself as pleased with how Kameko worked.

Murphy said: "I was really pleased. It was important that he went away and got a good blowout without doing anything crazy. 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."