Horses To Follow » Varenar


Varenar has not received the credit that he deserved for winning the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Saturday. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, all of the attention focussed on the eclipse of warm favourite, wonderfilly Goldikova. True, she had a desperate draw and Olivier Peslier didn’t cover himself in glory, rushing her up early and expending a lot of energy into a fast pace. Secondly, Varenar was entered in the Arc sale on Saturday evening, suggesting that neither The Aga Khan nor trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre held him in the highest regard. Unsurprisingly, he never made it into the sales ring. The general feeling was that he was flattered by this victory, but I can’t see how he could have been. He was the winner on merit. He travelled well through the early stages of the race, he made nice progress on the outside two furlongs out, and he showed a fine turn of foot to lead close home. Goldikova apart, this may not have been the hottest Prix de la Foret ever run, but there were still some useful performers behind Varenar, and the time was really good, 0.11secs/furlong faster than standard.

Put up here as one to follow after he was the only one from a low draw to get in amongst them in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in August, the son of Rock Of Gibraltar disappointed on his only subsequent run before Saturday when beaten a neck by Proviso in a Group 3 contest. But he led that day, and his rider lost his whip in the closing stages, so you can forgive him that. He is obviously better held up in behind and delivered late, ideally off a fast pace, when his cruising speed and his turn of foot can be used to maximum effect. He will probably be under-rated when he runs next, but he will be of big interest.

3rd October 2009