Andrew Balding is all for running Kameko in the QEII on British Champions Day at Ascot in two weeks time, but it all rides on what the ground conditions are on the day.
Having been a Group One winner as a juvenile, Kameko on his seasonal reappearance as a three year old ripped apart an even better field in the 2000 Guineas, showing some serious pace to beat the other runners which included champion two year old Pinatubo.
He was stepped up in trip for the Epsom Derby and with many thinking the horse would not stay and he didn't as he could only finish a tiring fourth.
Stepping back down to a mile for the Sussex Stakes, with two furlongs out he looked to be travelling the best of the pack but getting no run and running into other horses, he could not unleash his challenge.
He was tried in a hot Juddmonte International where again the step back up in trip did not suit him and the penny has now dropped that the mile is the distance he should be raced over.
He proved this when getting back to winning ways in the Group Two Joel Stakes at Newmarket last weekend and it looks a perfect stepping stone to the QEII.
(Credit ATR) Balding spoke about the upcoming race and said: “Very much so – (but) obviously, who knows what will happen with the ground in two weeks’ time?
“He wouldn’t want it too soft, I’m sure of that. But at the same time, he’s fit and ready to go, so it’ll be a decision we have to make on the day.”
Kameko is set to take on the unbeaten Palace Pier who has shown versatility by winning on good and heavy ground so far this term and it could set up a spectacular contest.
Balding added: “We’ve been wanting to take him on – it’s just our paths haven’t really met.
“But I’d rather be taking him on on good ground.
“I certainly wouldn’t be frightened of one horse. It’s going to be a strong race, plenty of depth, I’m sure – but I just hope the ground conditions are favourable for everyone."
The Kingsclere handler was over the moon at seeing his star get back to winning ways after not taking to the step up in trip in the Derby and Juddmonte International.
“It was a bit of a relief,” he added.
“He was carrying a 5lb Group One winner’s penalty against some very good older horses, so it wasn’t a straightforward task.
“But he did it really well, and just showed what a high-class horse he is – he’s got an extraordinary stride on him when he really hits top gear.”