The odds-on favourite could muster only third as Kameko took out the first British Classic in the new-look horse racing season at Newmarket on Saturday.
It was Pinatubo’s race to lose, but the combination of star jockey Oisin Murphy and trainer Andrew Balding meant you couldn’t quite rule out the star trio from an upset victory.
Had a crowd been in attendance, a hush would’ve descended across thousands who would have expected the Godolphin star to win in what was expected to be a formality.
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The brilliant Murphy shot Kameko into the lead in the final half furlong of the famous Rowley Mile, doing away with Frankie Dettori on Wichita, who finished second.
The ride was outstanding. Perhaps made even more special by the fact that Pinatubo’s run was nothing short of strong – it just wasn’t enough to hold off a fast-finishing Kameko.
Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo, unbeaten in six races as a two-year-old and with a higher official rating than the legendary Frankel, had every chance under jockey William Buick, but could not find that extra gear when it mattered.
For all the accolades Murphy has claimed to date during his career, the Newmarket 2000 Guineas was his first Classic.
Kameko’s emphatic run in the 2000 Guineas now places him as a firm contender for the Epsom Derby – Britain’s biggest prize in English flat racing.
Kameko is the Classic hero!— Racing TV (@RacingTV) June 6, 2020
The son of Kitten's Joy strikes for more Group 1 glory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas for @oismurphy, @AndrewBalding2 and @Qatar_Racing 👏 @NewmarketRace
Results ➡ https://t.co/glajGV55GR pic.twitter.com/J0LlDNpVVe
While Kameko will need to step up in distance, Balding was upbeat about his chances.
“To me it (the Epsom Derby) looks the obvious choice,” he said speaking to ITV Racing.
“There would be a stamina doubt, but there’s only one way to find out.”
Murphy couldn’t hide his emotion post-race, the young hoop struggling to hold back tears.
“It means the absolute world to me, it’s the stuff of dreams,” said Murphy.
“It was a gutsy performance. He hardly blew a candle out afterward – he must have a tremendous amount of ability.”
It is likely Pinatubo will now be aimed at the St James’s Palace Stakes at the famous Royal Ascot meeting later this month, Appleby confirmed.