Conditions suit Kameko in Friday Group 2 at Newmarket

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Kameko has finished fourth in three starts since winning the 2,000 Guineas but can get his head in front on the finishing line at the end of the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket (15.35 GMT) on Friday.

The three-year-old colt has something to find on Official Ratings with the favourite Benbatl, but the +300 chance is the only horse in the eight-runner field who has won a Classic. There is also some value in backing Regal Reality each way at +1100 with BetOnline.

The one-mile race on the projected good-to-firm ground on the Rowley Mile has attracted a solid field in terms of past form. Benbatl won the race last season, but beating Kameko receiving 1lb looks beyond the six-year-old.

Benbatl produced an above-average rating of 123 last year. Every other winner since 2010 won with a figure from 112 to 116. Kameko goes into the race off 120 and so would be the highest-rated winner up to 2018 over the last decade. He ran just below that level in the 2,000 Guineas. 

Kameko won two races from four starts as a juvenile and went straight to Newmarket for the Classic the following year. The winning distance from Wichita was just a neck and the horse just did enough. Pinatubo was a further length adrift in third place so the form was rock solid. The 2,000 Guineas was run on good to firm ground so Kameko is proven on the expected racing surface for this race.  

Pinatubo was the highest-rated two-year-old in 2019 and has produced excellent form since. In beating this horse in the Guineas, Kameko is one of the best milers this season. Three subsequent finishes outside the frame have enhanced his form which should be good enough to win this race.

Kameko has run to a mark of 119 in three starts since winning the colt’s one mile Classic. Finishing fourth behind Serpentine in the Derby could be upgraded because of the nature of the race. The winner was allowed to establish a lead and never came back to the field but Kameko ran well. 

The Sussex Stakes won by the retired Mohaather did not work out well. Kameko was short of room inside the final furlong but was only beaten by three and a quarter lengths. However, even without bad luck in running finishing second would probably have been the best outcome because Mohaather was too good.  The horse was good value for the margin of victory. 

Ghaiyyath is the best Flat horse in the world on classifications. Kameko finished just five lengths behind that horse in the Juddmonte International at York. Despite the seven pounds weight-for-age allowance, Kameko produced a joint-best career effort. Any progression can see Kameko beat Benbatl and the rest of the field this Friday.

The favourite has not run for 209 day, is better suited to more than the one mile of Saturday’s race and is unproven on firm going. He has not won at Group 1 level in Britain while Kameko has won over the distance and in the class at Newmarket this season. Benbatl does look booked for second place but third position up for grabs.   

Tilsit is a progressive horse and as a three-year-old receives weight but is more about potential than form on the track. Urban Icon is a solid performer but in Listed company while the other runners have several pounds to find. Regal Reality has the ability to make the frame but winning the race looks beyond him.  He was placed behind Enable in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes in 2019.

It’s about 8/11 that Kameko or Benbatl win the Joel Stakes. Benbatl would be the form pick but the race conditions suit Kameko who can get his career back on track after finishing fourth three times since winning a Classic at Newmarket over the Rowley Mile on good to firm ground. 

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