Varian keeping Cameron’s options open

Cameron Highland and jockey Neil Callan are lead into the winners' enclosure following their victory in the Try Totequickpick If You're Feeling Lucky Conditions Stakes at Epsom last season
Cameron Highland and jockey Neil Callan are lead into the winners' enclosure following their victory in the Try Totequickpick If You're Feeling Lucky Conditions Stakes at Epsom last season
Markov and jockey Tom Bellamyon their way to victory. Picture: Fontwell Park

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Cameron Highland is set to make his comeback at Goodwood’s May Festival.

The only problem is, trainer Roger Varian hasn’t decided which race his highly-regarded Galileo colt will contest.

The Newmarket handler, who is in fine form after saddling four winners in as many days last week, has pencilled the four-year-old in for the 32Red Festival Stakes (2.05pm) and Tapster Stakes (4.10pm).

Both races are on Saturday – the final day of the three-day Festival – with the former raced over one mile, one furlong and the latter a stamina-sapping one mile, four furlongs.

With three victories and three placed efforts in his seven career appearances to date, the 108-rated talent will no doubt prove to be a warm order in whichever Listed contest his boss chooses.

But for now, Varian is keeping his cards close to his chest.

He is just keen to see the Irish-bred colt put a disappointing effort in the Group 3 Arc Trial at Newbury in September firmly behind him.

The trainer said: ‘Cameron Highland is a very likely runner in one of the races but I haven’t decided which race yet.

‘He is versatile in regards to trip and ground, so we will just have a look at the entries and weigh it up closer to the time.

‘He has been in great form and I am very happy with him.

‘He has strengthened up over the winter and I think he has improved.

‘I think we can safely put a line through his run at Newbury because it didn’t compare to any of his previous runs.

‘I imagine he had just gone over the top after a long season. If you ignore that, he looked quite a nice horse.

‘And we were minding him a bit last year because we always thought he would be a better four-year-old.

‘Hopefully, we will be proved right.’

Cameron Highland is one of 16 entries for the 32Red Festival Stakes, which kicks off Saturday’s card.

The hopefuls are headed by the Luca Cumani-trained pair of Afsare – runner-up in the Grade 1 Arlington Million in Chicago in August – and French import Mobaco – a Group 3 scorer at Marseille Borely on his latest start in October.

Meanwhile, Beatrice Aurore, who won the Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood in 2011, could have her first start for Ed Dunlop.

And the Hughie Morrison-trained Coquet, who landed the contest last year, could return to West Sussex after finishing sixth in the Daisy Warwick Stakes.

The Tapster Stakes has attracted 11 entries, including Sussex Stakes champion Frankel’s full-brother Noble Mission.

Noble Mission won the Group 3 Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes over the course and distance at Glorious Goodwood last season.

Classy pair Vow and Songcraft are also among the possibles.

The May Festival climaxes with the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Fillies’ Maiden (5.20pm).

The going at Goodwood is currently rated as good.

Clerk of the course, Seamus Buckley, added: ‘The course is in great condition with a GoingStick reading of 7.5, which is indicative of lovely ground.’