Andrew Balding: The Derby is a risk worth taking with Kameko
The Betway ambassador says he's excited to have the highest rated horse in the Derby, and previews the rest of his runners at Epsom, Haydock and Chelmsford.
We’re all very excited for this weekend. We have a whole host of runners around the country, including two in Derby.
Of our two Derby runners, Kameko is our main hope.
It’s a step into the unknown with him as to whether he’ll stay the distance, but he’s a professional horse who is relaxed in both his work and his races, and that will only help him.
We’re very lucky to be coming into the race with a 2000 Guineas winner who is the highest rated of all the runners. There is only one Derby, so it’s a risk worth taking when you have a horse as good as he is.
Khalifa Sat is no forlorn hope, either. I loved the way he won at Goodwood and he really does stay well, but it’s just down to whether he has the class to win a Derby.
We’ve been happy with his preparation, so it’s all systems go.
Other Epsom runners
Calcutta Cup runs in the opening race (13:50) and, while he’s shown both ability and maturity in his work, this is a tough place to start his career.
I’m sure he’ll come on for the run but he’s against horses who have been out and won, so we know we’re up against it.
Shine So Bright (14:25) was a big disappointment at Royal Ascot. The ground was on the slow side, which we knew it would be, but I think he just found it too slow on his first run of the season.
There was no apparent reason for that run, but he’s been working well since, so we’re hoping it was just an off-day and that he can bounce back to form and show an improvement.
Despite not having the best run at Royal Ascot, where he was pushed wide throughout, I was pleased with Johnny Drama that day and think he’ll go well in the Investec Handicap (15:00).
Silvestre [De Sousa] rides these races so well at Epsom so, with a bit of luck, he’ll be there at the business end of the race.
We expected slightly better from Straight Right at Royal Ascot, but he may have just needed it.
He’s a good horse on his day and we expect him to run well in the last race of the day (17:35) on a track we think he’ll like.
Barossa Red will love the ground at Haydock. He travelled really well in his last run and that should have brought him on, and William Cox claims a very valuable 5lb.
Everything looks in his favour to run a nice race.
We’re going up in trip with Never Dark but, as it’s a turning 6f, it should be to his liking.
He’s got lots of pace and does break from the gates well, so he should be able to get himself into a good position early and that’s going to be important.
Recovery Run ran a nice race first time out at Kempton when he finished second. With that experience behind him, he should be a lot sharper and would have an obvious chance.
Ascraeus won well at Wolverhampton last time and was hitting the line strong, which gives us the indication that she’ll appreciate this step up in trip.
She could be reasonably well-handicapped off 65.
Top Drop didn’t show a lot first time out but had worked well before and has worked well since.
It does look a competitive race on paper but, if he finished in the first four, then we’d be delighted.
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