Sakheer the highlight as Roger Varian records 34,838-1 seven-timer

Sat 17 Sep 2022

A Sunday to savour has become a week to remember for Roger Varian, who six days on from bagging the second St Leger of his training career was saddling an incredible 34,838-1 across-the-card seven-timer on Saturday afternoon.

The sensational Sakheer was the undoubted highlight when plundering Newbury’s feature Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes in imperious fashion in the same KHK Racing Ltd colours as Varian’s Doncaster champion Eldar Eldarov.

Varian won the Group two contest in 2019 with Pierre Lapin, but that colt was all speed and was later seen contesting the Commonwealth Cup as a three-year-old.

Sakheer - a hugely impressive winner of the Mill Reef at Newbury

Sakheer, however, looks to have that Classic blend of speed and enough stamina to point towards Newmarket and the Rowley Mile next May where the talented son of Zoffany could bid to give Varian back-to-back Classics in the 2000 Guineas.

“It’s been an amazing week with the St Leger and now all these winners in a flash. You don’t expect that to happen, and especially on a day when the racing is so competitive,” said Varian.

“We’ll enjoy it, it doesn’t often happen. You can never really expect things to go as well for us as it has today, but everything is clicking.”

On Sakheer’s Classic potential, he added: “I think you have to be really excited I was blown away by his performance really.

“His work has always been very good and we thought he would win first time, but he ran into a smart filly at Windsor. He then won well at Haydock and he looks good. How good, I don’t know, but he is possibly the best of my two-year-olds.

“I was nervous coming here today as it was a very different task to dominating a novice field.

“He travelled well into it and I was very interested to see what he would do off the bridle and I thought he was very impressive, hit the line strong and it was hard to fault his performance today.

“We hope he is (a Classic horse), he’s bred to be and his pedigree would say seven furlongs to a mile. Who knows? He’s been very impressive over six and we will now have to debrief and sit down with everyone to decide in which direction we go in.

“He has size and scope, he’s very exciting and I think he’ll stay seven furlongs or a mile.

“He in the Middle Park, but it’s next week, very soon. We’ll have to see. He would need supplementing for the Dewhurst, but I think those two races are probably the ones on the table.”

Roger Varian discusses Sakheer's Mill Reef success with Nick Luck plus five of his other winners on Saturday prior to Aimeric completing the super seven-timer

KHK Racing may be a new addition to the Carlburg Stables set-up, but a constant in Varian’s training career has been the presence of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid-owned horses and it was somewhat fitting that three of Varian’s Super Saturday squad were adorned in the colours of the enthusiastic owner.

Derby entrant Exoplanet made the perfect introduction when taking the opening novice contest at Newbury in the mould of a horse with much more to come, while up at Ayr Royal Champion was finally fulfilling his handler’s belief with a clinical display in the Listed Doonside Cup – a meeting at which he was also on the scoresheet with the Sheikh Obaid-owned Aimeric.

Although reluctant to talk up the Classic claims of the former, Varian was delighted to see Royal Champion find the winner’s enclosure and said: “I’m so pleased because I have always loved that horse.

“He’s run well in better races and has always given us the feel of a good horse at home. I don’t know what’s next, but I’m looking enthusiastically to him going forward.”

It was left to the sprinters to bolster Varian’s riches both north and south of the border as not long after Mitbaahy had got back on track in the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes, durable handicapper Dusky Lord was making light work of the Silver Cup at Ayr to land the big sprint success he had threatened since scoring at Newmarket back in May.

Al Husn also scored for Varian over at HQ on a hugely memorable day for the red-hot trainer.

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