Khuzaam Headlines Varian Duo On Finals Day

Lingfield Park on Good Friday

Trainer Roger Varian has two live chances on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park this Friday.

The Newmarket handler saddles likely favourite Khuzaam in the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championships (4.45pm, 10 runners) and Australis in the opening Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships (2.00pm, 1m 7f 169y, seven runners). Both horses will be ridden by Jack Mitchell.

Khuzaam, who carries the colours of the late Hamdan Al Maktoum, returned from a gelding operation to defeat fellow Finals Day contender Highland Dress in a seven-furlong conditions race at Chelmsford City on March 4.

The five-year-old had previously registered a hat-trick of seconds in Listed contests on the All-Weather, including in the last two renewals of the British Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes over a mile at Kempton Park.

Varian said: “Khuzaam is in good order and I expect a mile around Lingfield to suit him very well.

“He was probably a bit rusty when he won at Chelmsford. It looks as though he has come forward from that run and we have been very pleased with him since.

“The Mile looks a competitive race this year and it will take a smart performance to win it.”

Khuzaam finishing second to Kinross in the Hyde Stakes at Kempton Park in November.

Australis has not been out of the first two in eight starts on the All-Weather. The son of Australia was narrowly denied by Island Brave (Heather Main/Martin Dwyer) in the opening Marathon Fast-Track Qualifier at Newcastle in December before going one better in a Wolverhampton handicap on January 2.

Varian added: “Australis has been trained for this race. He had a short break after winning at Wolverhampton and has freshened up nicely.

“He has never run at Lingfield before but has very consistent form on the All-Weather surfaces.

“I don’t know if he is good enough to win as he clearly needs a career-best, but I can see him running a big race.”

Varian sent out Realtra to win the 2017 All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championship, his only Finals Day success to date.

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