Saturday 20 January 2018

Varian hoping stable star's York trip won't have to be Postponed

Trainer Roger Varian. Photo: PA
Trainer Roger Varian. Photo: PA

Tom Peacock

Postponed still has the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on his agenda despite trainer Roger Varian's ongoing concern about the well-being of his string.

A respiratory infection prevented the five-year-old, unbeaten in three starts since joining Varian, from defending his crown in last month's King George VI at Ascot.

Varian has been quiet of late and ran only three horses throughout Goodwood last week, none of whom performed with distinction. However, a ready success for Absolute Zero at Ripon yesterday was a sign the situation may be on the turn.

"It's a possibility," he said of Postponed going to Knavesmire in a fortnight. "I'm happy with him and we'll let everyone know when we know.

"Obviously, York is only two-and-a-half weeks away. He has got a lot of work to get through and we've got to be happy with him.

"I don't think all the horses are 100 per cent. It's fair to say we're not firing on all cylinders and we're working hard to right the situation."

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced the 2017 Fixture List yesterday. A total of 1,496 meetings have been scheduled - 14 more than this year.

Particular points of interest include an adjustment to Good Friday racing, with cards to be held not only at Lingfield but at the other Arena tracks of Newcastle and Bath.

Meanwhile, trainer Mick Channon will be hoping his Harlequeen can make the most of a drop in class in this evening's Give Thanks Stakes at Cork.

The daughter of Canford Cliffs may be winless this season but she has produced some fine efforts in defeat, finishing fourth in the Musidora Stakes at York and third in both the Epsom and Irish Oaks.

Aidan O'Brien saddles Irish Oaks fifth Somehow, which is fitted with a visor for the first time, and Best In The World. The Ballydoyle maestro's son, Joseph, is represented by Arya Tara, which steps up in grade after four consecutive victories.

Dermot Weld's Munster Oaks runner-up Shamreen also features, while there's a second English invader in the shape of Jedd O'Keeffe's More Mischief.

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