Meydan, All-Weather, 1600m

29 March 2014

South Africa’s two time horse of the year, Variety Club overcame a difficult post position in gate 15 of 16 to run out the winner of the Group 2 US$1 million Godolphin Mile sponsored by Meydan Sobha for trainer Joey Ramsden and his jockey Anton Marcus. In doing so he had a length to spare over fellow South African and defending champion Soft Falling Rain, who made a brave bid to become the first horse since Godolphin’s Firebreak to win back to back runnings of the Godolphin Mile in 2003 and 2004.

Anton Marcus took the bull by the horns as the gates opened and sent Variety Club to the head of affairs, from where the horse was able to settle into a lovely rhythm and reel off easy fractions. Set alight by Marcus at the head of the stretch, Variety Club was always in control and had enough in the tank to gallop resolutely to the wire to hold Soft Falling Rain’s gallant effort by a length in 1:37.28. Soft Falling Rain just held off the late closing effort of the French filly Flotilla by a nose.

Trainer Joey Ramsden said: “To come here to compete means a lot, but to win is something special. Anton gave him a fantastic ride, and he got into a soft lead, and this gives me so much pleasure and all of South Africa. It may take a while to sink in.”

Jockey Paul Hanagan was full of praise for Soft Falling Rain’s efforts. “He has run a great race, and it’s no disgrace to be beaten by the winner. He was beaten by a very good horse and the race went exactly as I would have liked it to.”

Mikel Delzangles said of his third place finisher, the French 1000 Guineas winner Flotilla, “She has run very well, but it was a shame that they slowed down the pace and that she had to come on the outside, it’s difficult to do on this track. I don’t know if she stays in training or goes to stud.”

The disappointment of the race was Shuruq who was bidding to give Godolphin’s trainer Saeed bin Suroor a record 11th win in this race, and who was never seen with a chance, finishing in 8th spot.

“She wasn’t really traveling that well. That’s the fourth race she’s had over here (this season),” said rider Silvestre De Sousa. “She’s a bit front. I couldn’t make any ground.”

Extract from Dubai Racing Club