Varian looking to follow up Putra strike with likely four-year-old
Rundle's Paradise Stakes (Listed) | 1m | 4yo+ | RUK
Trends suggest that this mile Listed contest will go to a four-year-old, with that year group landing the prize in alternate years (2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015), and they are represented by three of the seven-strong field in the shape of Listed winner Ennaadd, the unexposed Mootaharer and Tabarrak, who finished second at the Craven meeting on his last start.
Ennaadd, who was last seen when finishing fourth behind Sovereign Debt in the All-Weather Mile Final on Good Friday, is Roger Varian's first runner in the race since he won it with Sri Putra under Neil Callan in 2012, and if translating his all-weather form to the turf – unplaced on his only start in this sphere – he looks sure to go well under a penalty.
Varian said: "The gallop was muddling in the All-Weather Mile Final and that did not play to Ennaadd’s strengths. I am looking forward to getting him back on turf and a straight mile on top of the ground will really suit."
Falling into the 'could be anything' category is Mootaharer, a half-brother to four-time Group 1 scorer Muhaarer. The Charlie Hills-trained four-year-old last raced 560 days ago when taking apart a field of above-average juveniles, scoring by four and a half lengths.
Hills, who has sent out a large 41-runner haul in the last fortnight, said: "It's been a long time coming to get him back on track. He had a sinus problem last year, but he's worked consistently well all spring and had a racecourse gallop at the Craven meeting at Newmarket, which went nicely. It's always been the plan to run here and I'm sure he's going to come on for the race."
Another unknown quantity, Kaspersky, will have his first start for trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam having been bought from Endo Botti's Italian yard after finishing down the field in a Group 3 at Capannelle.
Chapple-Hyam said: "He has settled in nicely and my only concern is that he has never been on a straight mile. He has placed multiple times in Group 1 company and won Group 2s so he is up for it, but he has been off the track since October and the open straight might be a bit daunting for him.
"He's a lovely horse and will race at Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne with Michelle Payne on board. The owners bought him with the dream of having a runner at Royal Ascot with Michelle riding."
David O'Meara is doubly represented with the more exposed Firmament and stable star Mondialiste, who tackles Listed company for the first time since bolting up by ten lengths at Pontefract in July 2015.
"Mondialiste is in good form and a drop of rain would help, although I don't think it'll come. We're looking forward to seeing him run," said O'Meara.
"Firmament is stepping up from handicap company to Listed class but he had a brilliant year last season and fully deserves to take his chance in this race."