SOUTH AFRICA: Variety Club hot favourite for Grade 1

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By Michael Clower
Racing Post

Preview: South Africa, Saturday 1.50pm BST

Clairwood: Rising Sun Gold Challenge (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+

Variety Club (Joey Ramsden/Anton Marcus) is 1-3 locally to become the first three-year-old to win this test for 11 years and his credentials are impeccable. 

He has won five out of seven this season include the Cape Guineas, KRA Guineas and Winter Guineas. His only defeats came when outstayed by Durban July favourite Jackson in the 1m2f Cape Derby and when caught close home in the Queen’s Plate by the high-class Gimmethegreenlight.

Assistant trainer Lorenzo Karriem said: “He galloped here at Clairwood and put up an exceptionally good effort. We are expecting a very big run.”

Tales Of Bravery (Vaughan Marshall/MJ Byleveld) has a length to find with the favourite on Queen’s Plate form but connections believe he is in with a chance.

Byleveld said: “We put blinkers on last time and they made a big difference.”

What A Winter (Mike Bass/Bernard Fayd’Herbe) is better known as a sprinter and this is his first attempt at 1m since the 2010 Cape Guineas when he started favourite and appeared not to stay. But the stable have never been totally convinced.

Bass’s daughter and assistant Candice Robinson said: “He came from behind that day and he raced wide so we are not sure. He worked brilliantly last week.”

The small field could play into his hands and the stable also run the versatile Castlethorpe (Karl Neisius) .

The only other runner is Pierre Jourdan (Gary Alexander/Robbie Fradd) who disappointed last time.

Alexander said: “He pulled up very sore and he is definitely going to need this run. His main mission is the Durban July.”

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