Varian Waiting On Postponed

Postponed represents a strong chance for Newmarket trainer, Roger Varian to land a first victory on Dubai World Cup night when he contests the Dubai Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup day.

Credit: Dubai Racing Club // Neville Hopwood


By Martin Kelly

It was Dubai World Cup night 2011 that launched the training career of Roger Varian and five years later the quietly-spoken Englishman is back with Postponed (IRE) and Intilaaq (USA) bidding to provide him with two winners on the biggest stage of all.

Varian inherited the Newmarket yard of the late Michael Jarvis in February 2011 and just weeks later was in Dubai for his first runner as a licenced trainer with Laheeb, who finished a solid fourth in the Dubai Sheema Classic presented by Longines.

And it is that race which appears to be at his mercy with the brilliant King George and Prix Foy winner Postponed.

The five-year-old is one of 35 horses owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum switched from Luca Cumani’s stable following that Foy win last September, and he was imperious on his debut for Varian with a smooth three-length success here in the Dubai City Of Gold sponsored by Skycargo.

“He should come on for his first run for me and I am very happy with him going into the weekend,” said Varian.

“He didn’t run in the Arc so coming out here seemed the logical thing to do and he has had a great preparation.
His jockey Andrea Atzeni knows him well, he is a very straightforward horse and he must have a big chance.”

Also with a big chance is Intilaaq, who has been switched from the Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates to the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World following the withdrawal – due to injury – of last year’s winner Solow.

Intilaaq has won three of his five starts, and after disappointing in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, was nursed back to top health and won both subsequent outings, culminating with a five-length romp in a Group 3 race at Haydock.

“I suppose that the 2000 Guineas came too soon for him so we had to give him time to get over that,” explained Varian.

“He doesn’t like soft ground so he didn’t run later in the year and the light campaign he had has worked in his favour. He is a little inexperienced but he has worked his way up. I am expecting him to keep on improving and I’m looking forward to a good year with him. He doesn’t lack talent.”

Despite having had Intilaaq away for two all-weather gallops to ready him for a dirt outing, Varian explained the switch of targets.

“We were aiming towards the Dubai World Cup and had prepared him for that in the UK but the Dubai Turf opened up when Solow came out and (owner) Sheikh Hamdan felt that this was the right race for him,” said the trainer.

“All five of his career runs have been on turf so he knows all about that and the World Cup would have been something entirely different. There is always next year though, and he could run in the World Cup in 12 months’ time.”

Before that, though, Varian has every chance of a Dubai World Cup night double and Postponed could be the one to end a five-year wait for a famous Meydan strike.

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