Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins
A step into the unknown uncovered a new path towards greatness for Variety Club, as Joey Ramsden's South African star was much the best in ensuring supremacy over his rivals in the GIII Firebreak Stakes.
Reported to have been working well with Anaerobio since landing in Dubai, Variety Club took the GIII Firebreak Stakes by the scruff of the neck and powered clear off of the home turf for a visually impressive success which saw him gain the new track record over the tapeta mile.
"We've never had anything quick enough to go in front of him, and whilst a mile appears to be his best trip, he'll go further," said Ramsden. Jockey Anton Marcus also spoke glowingly of the South African superstar post race; "He is a superstar at home and well done to connections for bringing him here," said Marcus. "There was a vision for this horse and it's fantastic that the first leg of this plan has come to fruition. Hopefully he'll turn out to be a serious Dubai World Cup horse." Variety is the spice of life, so some say, and there is no doubting that Joey Ramsden's six year old will have gained a plethora of new fans and followers to add to his ever-increasing fan club with this victory. Now undefeated for well over two years, the possibilities for Variety Club seem endless, and see him partnered by a jockey in Anton Marcus who also remains undefeated in Dubai - with a 2-from-2 record previously supplemented by the victory of Jay Peg in the 2008 Dubai Duty Free. South African hopes and dreams of acquiring that elusive victory in the Dubai World Cup have long rested on the broad shoulders of Mike De Kock, but whilst the master trainer continues to notch up victory after victory in every other corner of the Meydan fixture list there is a real chance that De Kock will watch on with the rest of us as this stunning son of Var gains that desired Dubai World Cup victory.
Whether the Dubai World Cup proves enticing for Ramsden is still open for debate, with Variety Club penciled in to run in a nine furlong turf contest on Super Saturday at Meydan [Mar 8], but if Variety Club does go on to win the $5 million showpiece, there will be no doubt on the level of gratitude propelled in De Kock's direction, whom has overseen and assisted in the quarantine arrangements of getting Variety Club to Dubai.
If Variety Club were to head to the Dubai Duty Free in favour over the Dubai World Cup, he would likely lock horns with Mike De Kock's Vercingetorix who was strong and determined when victorious on the undercard at Meydan today.
An undefeated five year old by Silvano, Vercingetrorix is a lightly raced five-time winner whom had reportidly struggled most of De Kock's string with the travelling to Dubai. However, the five year was much the best on Thursday and remains a dark horse for the Dubai Duty Free on Dubai World Cup night.
In the UAE 2,000 Guineas, Long John excelled, excited and enthralled his followers in bouncing back from a somewhat disappointing performance in last year's GI Cox Plate at Moonee Valley with a sublime and facile victory on today's card.
Receiving a considerable weight advantage at Moonee Valley that day, many were disappointed that Long John lost so comprehensively in Australia's premier weight-for-age contest, but those memories were dispelled with a display of dominance in this Emirati Classic race.
A four-and-a-half-length victor of this race, Long John figures to be a strongly proposition for the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night [Mar 28] and, if he can bounce back with a similar display in that race, looks tough to oppose.
In the closing race, Songcraft ensured his perfect first time up record remained in tact as he powered to his fourth seasonal introduction meeting in as many years. A Carnival stalwart of 2012, Songcraft was missing last season but figures to be an intriguing runner to keep in mind for the remaining middle-distance turf handicaps of the Carnival.