Champion jockey Oisin Murphy drove the Andrew Balding-trained 10-1 shot into the lead in the final half furlong of the famous Rowley Mile to relegate Frankie Dettori on Wichita into second.
Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo, unbeaten in six races as a two-year-old and with a higher official rating than the legendary Frankel, had every chance under jockey William Buick, but could not find that extra gear when it mattered.
Murphy, winning his first classic, kept Wichita at bay with an impressive turn of foot, and his horse, owned by Qatari Sheikh Fahad al-Thani, has been installed as favorite for next month’s Epsom Derby.
Balding, who had every confidence after Kameko’s impressive performance in his last race as a two-year-old, is now eying the biggest prize in English flat racing.
“To me it looks the obvious choice, there would be a stamina doubt, but there’s only one way to find out,” he told ITV Racing.
Wichita, beaten by a neck, was looking to give prolific trainer Aidan O’Brien an 11th 2000 Guineas victory, but Murphy had too much in hand despite Kameko hanging to the right in the closing stages.
“It means the absolute world to me, it’s the stuff of dreams,” said Murphy.
“It was a gutsy performance. He hardly blew a candle out afterwards – he must have a tremendous amount of ability.”
With his horse previously standing comparison with the great Frankel, who won the 2011 2000 Guineas and was unbeaten in 14 starts, Appleby was left to digest a shock defeat, beaten a full length by the winner.
“Obviously I’m disappointed as it’s the first time the horse has been beaten his career, but at least he hasn’t fallen out of the back of the telly,” he said
It is likely Pinatubo will now be aimed at the St James’s Palace Stakes at the famous Royal Ascot meeting later this month, Appleby confirmed.
Sixth 1000 Guineas for O’Brien
Any disappointment O’Brien felt at Wichita’s narrow defeat was quickly erased Sunday as his filly Love won the 1000 Guineas, his sixth win in the race.
Jockey Ryan Moore surged clear on Love in the final furling ahead of long time leader Cloak of Spirits while favorite Quadrilateral was third.
Love’s victory was O’Brien’s fourth win in the last five stagings of the race, which is also held over the Rowley Mile.
Horse racing only returned in Britain earlier this week following the coronavirus lockdown.
In common with other sports, the action is taking place without spectators and with strict hygiene rules in place.
It has meant a delayed start to the classic season, with the Epsom Derby pushed back by a month although Royal Ascot has kept its traditional place in the calendar.