Champion jockey Oisin Murphy will try to reprise one of his most memorable triumphs at York next week when he bids for a second victory in the Juddmonte International on the Qipco 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko.
The 24-year-old’s victory on Roaring Lion two years ago helped to cement his status on the big race stage when between July and October, he and the Qatar Racing-owned horse completed a sequence of four Group 1 victories.
By the same sire as Roaring Lion, Kitten’s Joy, and racing in the same ownership, Kameko will be moving back up in distance in next Wednesday’s showpiece which is part of the Qipco British Champions Series.
Murphy’s recollection of his last assignment on Kameko was not one of his fondest. The jockey blamed his own “jockey error” for not delivering victory in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, where they found their passage blocked and finished fourth.
Connections had the option of keeping the colt to a mile to contest Sunday’s Prix Jacques Le Marois but the International, over an extended mile and quarter, against a field likely to comprise Eclipse winner Ghaiyyath and Royal Ascot winner Lord North, has been preferred.
“The Juddmonte International is a very special race,” said Murphy. “I was fortunate to win it on Roaring Lion. That was a brilliant day and a memory I will never forget. It was a world class field. Often the best horses line up at York and I remember Frankel winning it.
“I am really excited that Kameko is going for it. Obviously it is stepping up to a mile and a quarter and Ghaiyyath and Lord North and Magical, some top class horses are lining up, but he deserves his chance. The three-year-old weight allowance is generous so hopefully we can make the most of that.
“Kameko has been in really good shape since the Sussex Stakes. I’ve been in to sit on him. He’s moving great and eating well. We were originally possibly going to go to the Prix Jacques Le Marois but we weren’t sure about the ground and York is a happy hunting ground so I am delighted it’s been chosen as his next target.”
Sky Sports Racing’s agreement to broadcast live non-terrestrial television coverage of Ascot’s 24 annual race meetings has been extended until 2024.