Andrew Balding: classy Kameko will be ready for Pinatubo challenge next year
Unbeaten juvenile Pinatubo may be a red-hot favourite for next season's Qipco 2,000 Guineas but Andrew Balding is looking forward to taking him on with his supremely impressive Vertem Futurity Trophy winner Kameko.
While Pinatubo heads the market at 11-10, only the Middle Park winner Earthlight and Phoenix Stakes scorer Siskin are ahead of Kameko in the betting, with Qatar Racing's young star a general 16-1 chance.
Balding is optimistic Kameko can step up again as a three-year-old, and said: "I think the whole idea of the Guineas is you try and get the best three-year-old colts there.
"We haven't achieved anywhere near the level Pinatubo has yet but in six months time, who knows? We won't be running scared of one horse, there will be others as well and that's what it's all about."
Kameko has the unique distinction of having won the first Group 1 run on the all-weather and it was a memorable performance, as he stretched clear of Beresford Stakes winner Innisfree by three and a quarter lengths under Oisin Murphy.
The glittering display has prompted comparisons with Roaring Lion, who was also owned by Qatar Racing and a son of Kitten's Joy, as he finished second in the Vertem Futurity before blossoming into a champion as a three-year-old.
"He's got a long way to go to emulate Roaring Lion, but it was a start," said Balding. "He's a fantastic horse to train and he's very straightforward. I'm really looking forward to him next year.
"He's improved with every race and he's a very nice physical specimen. He's developed very well and has a great temperament. I have no doubt he'll improve as a three-year-old."
Kameko already has valuable experience on the Rowley Mile having finished a neck second to Royal Dornoch in the Royal Lodge in September.
However, like the ill-fated Roaring Lion – who was fifth in the Guineas and third in the Derby before going on a wonderful top-level race winning spree – Kameko could stay beyond a mile and has other options further down the line.
He is as short as 10-1 for the Investec-sponsored Epsom showpiece with Pinatubo also heading that market at 7-1.
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