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Balding confesses to 'hollow' feeling after Derby yields mixed fortunes

Khalifa Sat (white silks) chases Serpentine in vain in the Derby
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Andrew Balding confessed to having mixed feelings after the Investec Derby with Khalifa Sat finishing second at 50-1 but 5-2 favourite Kameko only managing fourth behind Serpentine.

Khalifa Sat was partnered by Tom Marquand, who had been replaced by Frankie Dettori on the better-fancied English King in the Classic, and chased Serpentine throughout the contest, holding on from the closing pack to claim second for owner Ahmad Al Shaikh.

However, impressive 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko was unable to reel in the winner, with connections feeling he did not truly appreciate the step up in trip to 1m4f.

"I'm thrilled with Khalifa Sat," Balding said. "He's run a very sound, honest race and is an exciting horse for the future. But at the same time I feel a bit hollow about Kameko. I can't say he was the best horse on the day because he clearly wasn't, so it's a little bit deflating."

He added: "Fair play to Aidan, he has the ammo and knows how to use it."

Balding added that Kameko would not run again over the Derby trip and that jockey Oisin Murphy had been "a little bit cross with himself afterwards" although the trainer was unsure why.

David Redvers, racing manager to Kameko’s owners Qatar Racing, also saw nothing wrong with Murphy’s ride, and said: “Our fears that he mightn't stay were realised. If Oisin had been placed further forward then I think he’d have finished further back, so I thought he gave the horse every chance. 

"He's bred to be a mile, mile and a quarter horse and it was really only his class and his courage that got him to where he was at the end.

"Hopefully he'll come out of the race fine and then once we've all spoken then we'll probably look for a campaign over a mile and a mile and a quarter for the rest of the season."

Trainer Ed Walker was frustrated with the result but nevertheless proud of the performance English King put in to finish fifth, with Frankie Dettori believing inexperience caught his mount out.

"The way the race panned out was frustrating, purely and simply," Walker said. "I have got no excuses, just a frustrating race. A Derby with no pace – there is no such thing these days, really – and we needed pace. But I am proud of the horse, he has run great."

Dettori added: "I had a good trip. Between the three and one furlong, he couldn't pick up and then he was doing all his best work at the end. He was just inexperienced."


More to read

Dettori blames the track as Frankly Darling hangs away her chance

Serpentine gets 'freebie' to record 25-1 Derby demolition for Aidan O'Brien

2020 Investec Derby full result: where your horse finished and who won

Love still in the air at Epsom as Summer Romance wins the Princess Elizabeth


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Fair play to Aidan, he has the ammo and knows how to use it
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