x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Gold: Win would be dream result

Angus Gold, racing manager for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, said that a victory for Firdaws in the Fillie's Mile at Newmarket would provide a fairy tale win for trainer Roger Varian.

NEWMARKET, ENGLAND // Angus Gold, the racing manager for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, said that a victory for Firdaws in the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket Friday would provide a fairy-tale win for her trainer, Roger Varian, after the death of Michael Jarvis this week.

Varian took over at Kremlin House stables in February from Jarvis, his mentor, who trained for the Maktoum family, and his death at the age of 73 on Tuesday has been felt keenly enough that there was a minute's silence before racing yesterday.

Jarvis trained Eswarah to win the 2005 English Oaks in the blue and white silks of Sheikh Hamdan.

After a visit to Mr Greeley, the now-dead American sire, Eswarah produced Firdaws, who lines up against eight other rivals in the Group 1 contest.

"It would be a fantastic thing if Firdaws could win the Fillies' Mile," Gold said yesterday.

"Fairy tales don't often happen in racing though so we won't hope too much."

Firdaws showed her inexperience when she was edged into second place when ridden by Richard Hills on her debut at Newbury last month. More alert second time around at Salisbury racecourse, Firdaws won a 17-runner maiden at the beginning of the month by two lengths on dead ground, again under Hills.

The race was over seven furlongs and from a wide draw the bay filly took time to get going before her stamina kicked in to grind her rivals into submission.

It is clear that the staying power she inherited from her dam will be a major feature of her future career.

"She won in workmanlike fashion last time but I hope that was due to the ground," Gold said.

"I don't know yet whether it was purely down to the going, or whether she's more of a grinder but she didn't quicken like she did on debut.

"She has worked well at home after both of her runs and we can only see as she takes a big jump up in class as all of the fillies will."

Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell stud sponsors the entire card and in a tribute to his 2002 Dubai Sheema Classic winner, Nayef, the Group 2 Joel Stakes has been named after the subsequent Royal Ascot victor.

Tazahum is the Sheikh's representative in the mile contest, and will be up against Godolphin's Emerald Commander and Poet's Voice.

Tazahum started the British turf season brightly, winning his first two races, but Gold was adamant that despite failing to win on his three subsequent starts the three-year-old colt has not been a disappointment since.

"He is very consistent at this level," Gold said.

"He's a big horse and we could keep him in training next year. He's very much up to Group 2 standard," he said.