Roger Varian finished day one of the Qipco Guineas Festival all smiles having saddled a double in the closing two races on the opening day card.
Varian had earlier seen his Derby hope Subastar beaten in the Listed Newmarket Stakes, but the mood of the Carlburg Stables handler was quickly lifted when Voodoo Queen showed plenty of professionalism to get off the mark in the Betfair Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
The handler was delighted with the way the daughter of Frankel put to bed a messy race, with the filly, who was sent off at 13-8, not for passing in the closing stages.
“It was a messy race and they went slow, which meant it became a four-furlong dash to the line, which wouldn’t have suited her, but she showed a good attitude and I think she has a bright future,” said Varian.
“I was worried with four (furlongs) to run, but the gap came quite quickly and it’s a good job it did as it meant David (Egan) could put her into position and then she did the hard bit. If she hadn’t got out then and the field had quickened, she might have been in trouble.”
The three-year-old holds some exciting entries at a mile and a half, including the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Irish Oaks, but Varian appears content to take his time with this talented filly.
He continued: “She’s got some lovely entries, but I train for the most fantastic man in Craig Bennett, who puts us under no pressure and is very patient. I told him before the race today I think she is a filly for black-type races, but when and how we go about it we’ll let the filly dictate to us.
“She’ll stay well – watching back the race there they could have gone another couple of furlongs and they wouldn’t have gone by her.”
Varian and David Egan quickly followed up when 7-4 favourite Legend Of Dubai returned from a 246-day absence to claim the Daily Tips On Betting.Betfair Handicap.
The well-bred son of Dubawi finished second to Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle in his final start as a two-year-old and was only seen once over an extended mile and a half at three. However, his trainer seems certain a mile is his distance and the Royal Hunt Cup could be calling at Royal Ascot later in the summer.
“I think we’ll campaign him as a miler this year, we’ve worked him with a lot of pace at home and he’s a top of the ground horse, he wouldn’t want it too loose,” said Varian.
“I think he could be a Hunt Cup horse, but he might get a bit of a hike now. Hopefully the handicapper takes into account that the others didn’t handle the dip and he won’t get too excited!”
Karl Burke is tempted to work back from the Queen Mary with Dramatised who blazed a trail in the My Odds Boost On Betfair British EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
The daughter of Showcasing made all in the hands of Daniel Tudhope, showing plenty of early speed and although displaying signs of greenness when exiting the dip, ran out a cosy four-length scorer as the 9-4 market leader.
“She’s shown us plenty at home and she would be ahead of the pile of the fillies at home that have been winning, so we knew we had a good horse, it was just a question of keeping a lid on her really.
“I thought she would jump a bit quicker than she did, but once she was into stride, she was very very good. We had her mother who won the Empress Stakes and she was the same, she had a bit of edge on her.
Another run will be perhaps required to get Dramatised fully prepared for a trip to Royal Ascot, but Burke was hesitant to highlight the obvious choice of the Listed Marygate Stakes at York, suggesting there are other tracks that may work best for the talented youngster.
“The obvious one is the Marygate, but York second run, I’m not sure that is the place to send her with the walk across (the Knavesmire). But we’ll see how we come out of this and we might have some other fillies for the Marygate, so I will have a discussion with the owners.”
Promising apprentice Harry Davies made his first ride on the Rowley Mile a successful one when partnering his boss Andrew Balding’s Shine So Bright (9-2) to victory in the Betfair Daily Rewards Handicap.
The 17-year-old Newmarket resident was delighted to link up with a horse that had previously won at Group Two level and also thrilled to get off the mark on home soil.
“I’m really happy, I was delighted to get the ride on Shine So Bright for my boss, he hadn’t run for a while so we were always going to learn plenty about him and his season. The horse has always had a lot of ability, it was great that he could get his head in front,” he said.
“It was a great thrill; I’ve often thought about what it would be like to cross the line here in front and it’s great to get a winner here.”