Variety Club to take on world’s best milers in Hong Kong

Two-time South African horse of the year has done very little training in Hong Kong, such is his level of fitness after three runs at Meydan Racecourse this year during the Dubai World Cup Carnival, writes Geoffrey Riddle.
Variety Club faces the stiffest test of his career when the impressive Godolphin Mile winner spearheads a four-pronged international entry to the Champions Mile at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Saturday. Pawan Singh / The National
Variety Club faces the stiffest test of his career when the impressive Godolphin Mile winner spearheads a four-pronged international entry to the Champions Mile at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Saturday. Pawan Singh / The National

Variety Club faces the stiffest test of his career when the impressive Godolphin Mile winner spearheads a four-pronged international entry to the Champions Mile at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Saturday.

The two-time South African horse of the year has done very little training in Hong Kong, such is his level of fitness after three runs at Meydan Racecourse this year during the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Variety Club was previously trained by Joey Ramsden, but in the lead-up to the World Cup last month, owners Marcus and Ingrid Jooste believed Mike de Kock’s international expertise was better-suited to their needs.

De Kock has made five attempts at the Champions Mile, and Musir’s third in 2011 remains the best effort by any international horse since the race was opened to foreign runners nine seasons ago.

“I think this horse is one of the best milers in the world, but when you come to the Hong Kong milers, they are the best in the world,” Trevor Brown, De Kock’s assistant, told the Hong Kong Jockey Club. “You only have to look at their record in this race. You’ve got to respect them. They grind and then they kick.”

Variety Club, again ridden by Anton Marcus, will be joined in the race by the French challenger Mshawish, who finished fourth in the Dubai Duty Free. Ireland’s Gordon Lord Byron, who is returning from last month’s Championships in Australia, and the Japanese entry Meiner Lacrima also are entered.

Able Friend, trained by John Moore, who won last week’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup with Designs On Rome, heads the Hong Kong defence, alongside Richard Gibson’s Gold-Fun.

Red Cadeaux and Fenomeno will go at it again

Red Cadeaux will take a second crack at the Tenno Sho at Kyoto racecourse on Sunday.

The eight-year-old gelding, trained by Ed Dunlop, finished third behind Fenomeno in the two-mile Grade 1 race last year, and that rival is running again.

Red Cadeaux was runner-up to Animal Kingdom in the 2013 Dubai World Cup.

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Published: May 2, 2014 04:00 AM

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