Kameko proved better than ever when successfully giving weight to top-class older horses in the Gr.2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.
Qatar Racing’s QIPCO 2,000 Guineas hero Kameko showed plenty of determination to overcome a 5 lb Gr.1 winner’s penalty in the 6-runner Joel Stakes on the Rowley Mile, returned to eight furlongs and back to the scene of his Classic success.
After racing in midfield with the runners taken along by the returning triple Gr.1 winner Benbatl, Kameko rallied to lead over 1f out and was ridden out by Oisin Murphy to win by half a length from August's Gr.3 winner Regal Reality, with the same distance back to Benbatl in third. They were clear of progressive Gr.3-winning 3-year-old Tilsit, Gr. 1 winner Zabeel Prince and another Gr.3 winner this season in Top Rank.
It was a bold call by Andrew Balding to drop Kameko in grade given the penalty and credit to him for it paying off. It was a second win in the race for the Kingsclere trainer after another 3-year-old, the ill-fated Beat The Bank in 2017.
Andrew told the press: “It was not easy giving weight to good horses. He always hits a flat spot in his races and he stops a little bit in front. I thought he might hit the front a bit too soon.
“One hundred per cent that was as good as his Guineas win. There was no hiding place today with the penalty and proper, good older horses in the race.
“I think there is no doubt he is a miler and that was a really good effort. He has done it on slightly slower ground today, but full credit to the horse – he is very decent.
Oisin added: “I’m delighted for Sheikh Fahad (owner) and everyone. To give weight away to older horses is a very difficult task and he stuck his head out and did everything right in the race.
“He ran straight as a die. He is so tough and consistent and, on ratings, I think that will rate higher than his Guineas win as to give weight away to older horses shows what a top horse he is.
“He is a very intelligent horse. I took him down in a hack canter and I had him really quiet at the gate. If I lit him up at all, he would have travelled really on the bridle. I was happy for him to race a little lazily today.”
Kameko is likely to make his next appearance in either the Gr.1 QEII Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on October 17 or at the Breeders’ Cup.