Derby plans coming together for Roger Varian trial winners

Roger Varian is planning an English/French Derby double with Classic trial winners Third Realm and El Drama.

Third Realm is on target for Epsom on June 5 after winning the Lingfield Derby Trial, while Dee Stakes scorer El Drama will head to Chantilly for the Prix du Jockey Club the following day.

Varian gave a positive update on his Classic-chasing pair.

Third Realm impressed in the Lingfield Derby Trial
Third Realm impressed in the Lingfield Derby Trial (John Walton/PA)

“We’re very pleased with Third Realm,” said the Newmarket handler.

“He hasn’t put a foot wrong since Lingfield so he’s on course for the Derby and we hope he trains smoothly over the next fortnight or so.

“El Drama is on target for the French Derby. That has been the plan since Chester and remains the plan.

El Drama (left) swoops to conquer at Chester
El Drama (left) swoops to conquer at Chester (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We’re very happy with him as well.”

Varian introduced a potentially exciting three-year-old colt in Bashosh at Leicester on Monday evening.

The full-brother to Group One winner Nezwaah looked a bright prospect when pulling away in the closing stages to beat Thaler by four lengths in a seven-furlong maiden, with the third horse 16 lengths further away.

“He won nicely and we were very impressed,” said Varian.

Bashosh looks an exciting prospect judged on his debut win at Leicester (Keith Hamer/PA)

“We thought he would run a nice race, maybe seven furlongs would be a bit sharp for him but we hoped he’d run well. I’m very pleased he did that and he looks to have a future.”

Varian compared Bashosh to Nezwaah, who also made her racecourse debut at the age of three and gained her biggest success in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh as a four-year-old.

“He’s a similar type. They were both late developing,” he said.

“I think this horse will make progress throughout the summer and be a good prospect for this summer and next summer as well.

Bashosh's illustrious sister Nezwaah winning the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in 2017
Bashosh’s illustrious sister Nezwaah winning the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in 2017 (Niall Carson/PA)

“I’m sure he’ll stay a mile and a quarter. I think the softly-softly approach will be the right one. He took a long time to get organised to make his debut.

“The big fancy three-year-old races are upon us now so there’s no rush with him. He can take all summer to learn his trade and hopefully he’ll be the type for a nice race during the second half of the season, with one eye on next year as well. I don’t think we’ll over-face him in the short term.

“He’s a horse we like and we will try to manage his career accordingly.”

Dee delight for Varian with El Drama

Roger Varian was delighted to see El Drama emerge as a potential Classic contender following a clear-cut victory in the tote+ Biggest Dividends At Dee Stakes at Chester.

A field of seven three-year-olds went to post for the recognised Derby trial, with El Drama sixth in the betting at 12-1 on what was just his second start on turf.

Since that successful debut on soft ground at Doncaster, the Lope De Vega colt had finished third in successive races on the all-weather, but took his game to new heights on the Roodee.

After tracking the pacesetting favourite Yibir for much of the extended 10-furlong journey, El Drama was pushed into the lead rounding the home turn by Andrea Atzeni and he stayed on well to score by a length.

Maximal made late gains to fill the runner-up spot, with Earlswood third and Yibir fading into fourth place.

Varian said: “I’m very pleased with that today. He’s always shown masses at home and we were trying to funnel him into being a 2000 Guineas contender.

“Because he only ran once at two there were limited options trying to get experience into him. He ran over seven furlongs at Lingfield and a mile at Kempton, which wouldn’t be ideal spots for him. He ran with credit, but always looked a better horse on turf.

“He didn’t run well enough to take in a Guineas, but this was a nice alternative plan. We thought he’d stay 10 furlongs well and that he’d be better back on grass.

“I’m delighted that he’s done that today as we always thought him capable of something like that.

“It’s good for him to redeem his reputation.”

El Drama (left) races away from his Chester rivals
El Drama (left) races away from his Chester rivals (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Paddy Power cut El Drama to 16-1 from 66-1 in what is an increasingly murky Derby market, with Bolshoi Ballet and Mohaafeth joint-favourites at 5-1 and High Definition pushed out to 7-1 after being ruled out of his intended prep run at Lingfield this weekend.

However, Varian raised the French Derby as a viable alternative to next month’s premier Classic at Epsom for his colt.

“Having spoken to Sheikh Obaid, all options are open and he’d like him to be considered for the Prix du Jockey Club,” the trainer added.

“He’s a very strong work horse, but I thought if Andrea switched him off today, the fact you are always on the turn helps them relax.

“I’m glad he’s won today – it’s given us food for thought.”