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Varian Showing No Signs Of Slowing Down

Andrew Asquith flags up three trainers who are in good form at present and picks out some interesting horses that may run for them in the coming days.

Varian Showing No Signs Of Slowing Down

Andrew Asquith flags up three trainers who are in good form at present and picks out some interesting horses that may run for them in the coming days.

Flat trainer: Roger Varian
Flat trainer: Roger Varian Picture:Racing and Sports

Flat trainer: Roger Varian

Roger Varian has made a flying start to the season and has already unearthed some potentially exciting horses to go to war with this year, which is very welcome news as he reported last week that his stable star and four-time Group 1 winner Postponed has had to be retired due to suffering a stress fracture in one of his legs. UAE Prince, who is also owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, made a promising return at Ripon last month, and you can expect this lightly-raced four-year-old to be plying his trade in pattern races this season. Gibbs Hilland Prosper are a couple of others who have made a promising start and look three-year-olds to follow, particularly the former, who won at Wolverhampton last month in the style of a smart prospect. The yard have a few runners with engagements over the next few days, including Call Me Grumpy, who could make his handicap debut at Windsor on Monday night. Steadily progressive in maidens last year, he showed all the hallmarks of one that will improve as a three-year-old. Mountain Angel and Margherita are entered in a maiden at Beverley on Tuesday, and the first-named will set a fairly useful standard having finished second on his last two starts, he already has a BHA mark of 80.


Jumps trainer: Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls narrowly missed out on an 11th Trainers Championship last month, but he hasn’t let that deter him too much, as the stable continue in good form. One of his top novice hurdlers last season Capitaine made a smooth winning start over fences on Wednesday and he has plenty of scope to improve further in that sphere, while his smart chaser Southfield Vic has made mincemeat of his rivals on his last two starts. Rogue Devils looks very interesting making his chase debut at Ludlow on Sunday, having won two of his three starts in points, and he will likely be a warm order. Red Hanrahan is entered for a novice handicap chase at Southwell on Tuesday and should play a leading role too, having showed an aptitude for chasing when second to a subsequent winner at Fontwell last month.

Under the radar: Noel Wilson

Noel Wilson only had three winners in 2016, but his impressive start to the season has already seen him double that tally, operating at a strike rate of just under 43% in the last two weeks. That is a remarkable stat for a small yard, which has been helped by the improvement of Longroom, who completed a quick-fire double at Ayr on Monday. Wilson has a couple of horses entered at Wetherby on Monday which are worth noting. Redvers hasn’t won since 2013, but he is very well handicapped on the pick of his form, and this represents a much easier task than the 0-90 handicap he contested at Ascot last time, so he isn’t without hope. The Name’s Paver was well backed when winning at Thirsk last month, showing a good attitude in the process, and he should remain competitive despite a 4 lb rise.
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