Varian considers plan B for Sussex hopeful

Declaration of War ridden by Joseph O'Brien (dark blue) wins The Queen Anne Stakes during day one of the Royal Ascot meeting at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire.
Declaration of War ridden by Joseph O'Brien (dark blue) wins The Queen Anne Stakes during day one of the Royal Ascot meeting at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire.
The start of racing on Washout Wednesday / Picture by Malcolm Wells

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Roger Varian has admitted he is thinking outside the box to reward Aljamaaheer for his hard work.

The four-year-old Dubawi colt claimed a debut victory at Yarmouth in 2011.

He followed that up with Listed glory in the King Charles II Stakes at Newmarket last term.

However, since then he has finished in the top three on six occasions – without getting his nose in front.

Those races are made up of a Listed contest, two Group 3 battles, a Group 2 showdown and a brace of Group 1 tear-ups.

It all forms an impressive CV for Aljamaaheer, who was third in both the RSA Thoroughbred Stakes and Celebration Mile at Goodwood last summer.

But after watching him finish second to Declaration Of War in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, Varian wants to see his Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned inmate get his nose in front.

While he is still preparing to run in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and Jacques le Marois at Deauville, the trainer acknowledges lining up against horses such as Dawn Approach and Toronado may see the trend of near-misses continue.

Therefore, he is considering a drop in class for his Lockinge Stakes third to gain that well-deserved triumph.

The Newmarket handler said: ‘He ran a career-best at Royal Ascot.

‘Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite good enough – but I think if you turn up at Royal Ascot and run a career-best race, you can’t have too many complaints.

‘He seems to have come out of it well and he’s now run two very good races at Group 1 level this season.

‘He will be in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and the Jacques le Marois at Deauville but I don’t really want to go all summer with him running well in the big races without winning.

‘If the opportunity is there, we could come back to an intermediate race somewhere and try to get his head in front before going back up in class.

‘We’ll wait and see and let him tell us how he is before we make any plans.’