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Variety Club

Variety Club: three-year-old is favourite for the Queen's Plate

  PICTURE: Liesl King  

Variety Club bids to slay elders for Ramsden

Preview: South Africa, Saturday 2.50pm GMT

Kenilworth: L'Ormarins Queen's Plate (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+

IMPRESSIVE Cape Guineas winnerVariety Club (Joey Ramsden/Anton Marcus) bids to become the first three-year-old to win the Queen's Plate since Yataghan 39 years ago.

Few three-year-olds contest the race - only four have done so in thepast decade -and Ramsden's original plan was to go for the Cape Derby at the end of the month.

He changed his mind because the horse was so well and said he had no reservations about taking on the older horses.

"Everybody says that three-year-olds are very well in at this time of year," he said.

"I don't know that he has actually come on since the Guineas - that was only three weeks ago - but I gave him light work on the course on Monday after putting him through the stalls and he went well."

Variety Club had to get a new stalls certificate after delaying the start in the Guineas but Ramsden said "his behaviour in them since has been exemplary."

The colt is the highest-rated horse in the race on 118 and in theory has more than 5lb in hand over the next-best, his stable companion the 2010 Cape Derby winner Bravura (Glen Hatt).

Ramsden said: "I have got to know Bravura a bit better and I have only had to play around with him since his win in the Green Point Stakes."

Variety Club is favourite - 2-1 with Betting World and 9-4 with Hollywoodbets.net - and second favourite is last year's third Ebony Flyer (Justin Snaith/Felix Coetzee), who had a wind operation in May.

Snaith said: "We scoped her after last year's race and she was three-out-of-five gone in her breathing so she should do better this time."

Tales Of Bravery (Vaughan Marshall/MJ Byleveld), a 20-1 chance when second 12 months ago, is now an 8-1 shot.

Marshall is expecting another big run and said: "He has improved and is now the best I've had him. We just need a bit of luck."

Mike de Kock won this for the first time last year and sends Link Man (Weichong Marwing) and the ex-Tommy Stack-trained Gibraltar Blue (Anthony Delpech). Both are expected to go well.

Also on Saturday

Kenilworth: TBA Paddock Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1f, turf, 3yo+ f/m (12.40pm GMT)

The scratching of 1-5 Horse of the Year Igugu after a bout of coughing would appear to have turned this into a two-horse race between last year's winner Emerald Cove (Justin Snaith/Felix Coetzee) and Beach Beauty (Dennis Drier/Alec Forbes).

The latter came out two lengths the better when they met over a furlong further on these terms at Greyville in July but there is stable confidence behind Emerald Cove.

Snaith said: "Even before Igugu was scratched, I thought my filly would go well."

 
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