Variety Club repeated last year's win (above) to secure another Grade 1PICTURE: www.Goldcircle.co.za
Variety Club takes Gold for eighth win on bounce
Report: South Africa, Saturday
Clairwood: Rising Sun Gold Challenge (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+
VARIETY CLUB (Joey Ramsden/Anton Marcus) put up a typically dominant performance to lead from the start and repeat last year's win. This was the Horse of the Year's eighth consecutive success and his 14th in all.
Second-favourite Beach Beauty made a gallant attempt to throw down the gauntlet early in the straight but it only took a nudge from Marcus for the 2-5 shot to increase his advantage and put the issue beyond doubt. The filly kept plugging on but was still a length behind at the line.
Marcus said: "Because of his high cruising speed I lead more by accident than design but I think he would be even more effective against better opposition."
The long-term aim for the son of Clive Brittain's Prix de l'Abbaye winner Var is the Breeders' Cup Mile in November but there are considerable quarantine problems to be overcome.
America insists on a 60-day exercise-limited lockdown on horses arriving from South Africa and Europe currently has its doors closed to South African horses, even though the latest African Horse Sickness-resultant ban has officially expired.
Pomodoro and stable companion Whiteline Fever both finished well to take third and fourth and boost their prospects for the country's biggest race, the Vodacom Durban July, on July 6.
The winner's connections were quizzed about supplementing Variety Club, even though the race is over an extra three furlongs. The answer was non-commital.