Andrew Balding could look to the G3 bet365 Craven S. at Newmarket as a potential starting point for Kameko ahead of an outing in the G1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas. The Kingsclere handler believes the mile Group 3 contest could be the ideal stepping stone for the son of Kitten’s Joy, before returning him to the track for the opening Classic. After finishing second over course and distance in the Royal Lodge S. on his penultimate start, Kameko ended the year on a high when winning the first Group 1 race staged on an artificial surface in Britain, the rearranged Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle.
Balding said, “Kameko is just starting out to do two canters. He has been ticking over quietly during the winter. We are looking forward to this year as he is a high-class horse. As long as he stays healthy the 2000 Guineas will be his first main objective. It is quite possible he will have a run beforehand as he improved with racing last season.
“The Burradon S. at Newcastle is a listed race and he would have to carry a penalty, but he is a course and distance winner. He wouldn’t have to carry a penalty in the Craven S., so we might end up looking at that if everything falls right and we decide to have a run.”
Though Balding expects Kameko, who is the general 10-1 second-favourite for the G1 Investec Derby at Epsom, to get further than a mile this season, he remains unsure what his ultimate trip will end up being.
He added, “I’m not sure just how far he will stay, as there are mixed messages in the pedigree. Without a shadow of a doubt he will stay a mile and a quarter, but whether he stays a mile and a half there is a big question mark. Hopefully we will be able to work that out by the first Saturday in June.”