Balding banking on Kameko’s class in Juddmonte International

Sun 16 Aug 2020

Andrew Balding is confident 2000 Guineas hero Kameko can play a major role in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York, provided he stays the trip.

The son of Kitten’s Joy will make his first start over a mile and a quarter in Wednesday’s Group One showpiece, after connections decided to swerve this weekend’s alternative in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

While Kameko, who finished fourth in the Derby on his penultimate start, still has his stamina to prove, the Kingsclere handler believes 10 furlongs may prove his optimum distance.

Watch a full replay of how Kameko won the QIPCO 2000 Guineas

Balding said: “The decision not to run in France was down to two things.

“There was ground – because they had a lot of rain – which may have been unsuitable for him, and then there was the restrictions on jockeys (travelling and returning from France), so we decided to give him a go over a mile and a quarter.

“We always thought this would be his trip, but you never know until you try. He shaped like a mile was his trip (when fourth) in the Sussex Stakes, but as long as he stays he has got the class to run a big race.”

Although Kameko will be taking on established mile-and-a-quarter performers, in Eclipse winner Ghaiyyath and Prince of Wales’s Stakes hero Lord North, Balding is confident he merits his place in the line-up.

He added: “Ghaiyyath will make sure it is a truly-run race and he is a top-class horse, as is Lord North and whatever Aidan (O’Brien) throws at the race. It is a proper race, and I’m glad to be part of it.”

Kameko was seen by many as a slightly unlucky loser when short of room during the closing stages of the Sussex Stakes last time out, but Balding has no complaints about the outcome at Goodwood.

He said: “He was unlucky in the Sussex Stakes, but the winner (Mohaather) would have been unlucky as well had he not won.

“I can’t for a second say that he would have won it, but he would have gone a lot closer.

“It was slightly frustrating, but that is what happens at Goodwood from time to time. Happily the horse didn’t have a hard race as a result, so we can bounce back to York.”

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