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Horse Racing

Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy star in first Guineas win as Kameko leaves it late to beat Wichita and Pinatubo

ONE bubble may have been burst, but another star arrived in a timely fashion as Kameko triumphed in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

It was a first Guineas for both trainer Andrew Balding and jockey Oisin Murphy as talk of the town and odds-on favourite Pinatubo could only manage third.

Kameko backed up his Vertem Futurity win with a flourish in the Guineas

Despite some traffic problems mid-race, Murphy managed to steer Kameko (10-1) out of trouble on the rail to get up late in the day and pass runner-up Wichita to win by a neck.

There may have been no crowd but the joy was no different for the 24-year-old jockey taking the sport by storm.

Social distancing may have ruined any planned celebrations but the champ let it be known the win still meant the world.

And for Balding it was equally as emotional as he landed arguably the biggest win of his esteemed career.

Murphy said: “I wanted to carry Andrew on my shoulders and swing him around and make him dizzy, but first of all I’m not strong enough and big enough to do that and secondly there would be a lot of bad press tomorrow morning!

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, and there isn’t much of an atmosphere after a race, in fact there’s no atmosphere, but it means just as much to me.

“I’m afraid to dream so big as often races don’t work out how you want.

“This horse had trained so well without us doing anything too silly on him and I was really pleased. Really and truly I do think Kameko is a very good horse.

Kameko came off the rail under Murphy to avoid any traffic problems

Kameko came off the rail under Murphy to avoid any traffic problems

“I am absolutely thrilled, to do in those colours and for Andrew who I started my career with, and for the same sire as Roaring Lion, you couldn’t make it up really.”

Naturally talk turned to the Investec Derby and the Guineas winner was introduced as the 3-1 favourite by most bookies.

Plans were far from concrete but a chuffed Balding clearly has Epsom top of his shortlist.

Balding said: “There is only one Derby and I’d be very keen to go that way. I have no doubt he’d stay and he’s probably the best three-year-old around.

“It looks the obvious choice, there may be a slight stamina doubt, but there’s only one way to find out.

“His optimum trip would be a mile-and-a-quarter, but for one day only he may stay a mile-and-a-half.”

There were no excuses for Pinatubo and his trainer Charlie Appleby already has Royal Ascot in his sights.

He said: “Pinatubo travelled well into the race there when he had Wichita as his target, but when he made his move he got up to their girths and just didn’t go any further forward.

“Obviously I’m disappointed as it’s the first time the horse has been beaten in his career, but at least he hasn’t fallen out of the back of the telly.

“He’s had a normal blow after that and we’ll take him home, but the first impression would be to take him to the St James’s Palace Stakes.”