British champion jockey Oisin Murphy says he is afraid “to dream too big” but he will be forgiven if his reverie does include him and Kameko adding the Derby to the English 2000 Guineas.
The 24-year-old Irishman’s first British classic success on Saturday could not have been more memorable as Kameko made history, posting the fastest time in the race which was first run in 1809.
As a result, bookmakers installed Kameko as 3/1 favourite for the Derby.
As thrilling as it was for Murphy to break his British classics duck he says there are two races that he wants to win above all others.
One is the Derby, which ironically should have taken place on Saturday, but due to the coronavirus pandemic forcing the sport to shut down has been moved to July 4 at Epsom.
“I am afraid to dream too big because often they don’t work out,” he said at the post-race press conference.
“This victory is at the top so far as I am only 24.
“However, obviously the Arc (Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe) and Derby are my two favourite races and that has not changed.”
Murphy, who is seen as the likeliest successor to superstar and good friend Frankie Dettori, both as a talent and a crowd-pleasing entertainer, says he would love to attempt the Derby but the decision is not in his hands.
“I could not tell you whether he is an intended runner or not,” said Murphy.
“However, the Sheikh (Fahad Al-Thani) is a sporting owner and Andrew (Balding, the trainer) would love to emulate his father (Ian).”
Balding has already gone one better than his father in winning the Guineas — Ian’s greatest horse Mill Reef losing to another legend of the turf Brigadier Gerard in 1971.
– ‘Making him dizzy’ –
JSC Communications/AFP / Laurence Squire Should Kameko run and win the Derby he would rival the late Roaring Lion for a place in owner Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani’s heart
The thought of adding the Derby — a race his father and Mill Reef won after the Guineas disappointment — could well prove irresistible to the 47-year-old.
This despite having niggling doubts Kameko may not have the stamina to see out the Derby’s extra 1/2 mile (800 metres) compared to the Guineas.
“My current thoughts are Royal Ascot will come too soon (June 16-20),” he said.
“To me it looks the obvious choice, there would be a stamina doubt, but there’s only one way to find out.
“We have to let David (Redvers, racing manager), Sheikh Fahad and Oisin all put in their opinions.
“He will certainly get a mile and a quarter, but there is a certain race over a mile and a half in July (the Derby) that would be quite appealing.
“He is certainly the best three-year-old around.”
Kameko’s future programme lies in reliable hands with Balding and Murphy.
The Englishman gave Murphy his first rides in England back in 2013 and even though Balding confessed to being bemused at the jockey’s tactics in the second half of the Guineas his respect for him is clear.
“Oisin does an exceptional amount of work for the sport,” said Balding.
“He is a credit to the sport. He can talk the talk and walk the walk.”
AFP / Glyn KIRK Murphy says the Derby is one of two races he would treasure winning the closest so far third in 2018 on Roaring Lion
The feeling is mutual for Murphy.
“I’m thrilled (to win), in those colours for Andrew Balding,” he said.
“I wanted to carry him (Balding) on my shoulders and swing him round and make him dizzy.”
Only social distancing regulations prevented him from doing so but should they add the Derby on July 4 there may be no stopping him – rules or no rules.