Varian: ‘We hope to switch Mijhaar off at York’
Wednesday 11 July 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
Roger Varian is confident that Mijhaar will settle better when he tackles the 53rd John Smith’s Cup at York on Saturday.
The son of Shirocco, the quadruple Group 1 winner, blew his chance of winning the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot last month when running too freely. He was denied by a neck and a head by winner Gatewood and Black Spirit.
The four-year-old is on course to run in the extended 1m2f contest along the Knavesmire, for which he is a general 4-1 favourite.
“He was a little bit keen at Ascot and who knows, if he had settled better we might have won the race,” Varian told Racinguk.com
“It is very hard to iron out completely,” he added. “It is a little bit in the horse’s make-up. He is quite a relaxed horse at home, so it must be the adrenaline at the races. It is something that we are conscious of and we have done our best to help switch him off.
"We are hoping to get a bit more cover in the race and that he drops the bridle quicker than he did at Ascot.
“With a bit of luck we can switch him off a bit better at York. If he races properly he ought to run a decent race.”
Mijhaar’s Wolferton run was just the sixth of his career and lightly-raced horses have an excellent record in the John Smith’s Cup, one of Europe’s most valuable handicaps at £150,000 guaranteed.
Only one of the last ten winners raced more than four times that season prior to their victory. Flying Clarets had excellent course form, having raced nine times along the Knavesmire prior to scoring on his sixth start of the season for Richard Fahey in 2008.
The Wolferton Stakes has also been a rich source of winners with Green Destiny, last year’s victor, using the Royal Ascot race as a stepping stone. Mullins Bay, the last to carry over 9st to victory in 2005 and the last winning outright favourite, also graduated from Ascot’s competitive 1m2f handicap.
The ground at York remains soft, and Varian was hoping that the Knavesmire will maintain those conditions up until Saturday.
“He’s very well. We have been very happy with him since his Ascot run. He’ll be comfortable on the soft ground and it is the type of race he should run well in," the Kremlin House handler. who has saddled four winners from his last 24 runners, said.
“Everything ought to be in the horse’s favour. He showed at Ascot that he could carry weight and run well in a top handicap and hopefully that will be the case on Saturday.”