With two wins from three starts in the UAE, including the Godolphin Mile (G2), followed by a devastating score in the Champions Mile (G1) at Sha Tin, two-time South African Horse of the Year Variety Club has been retired. He will stand at Klawervlei Stud. The full story was out in a press release on Thursday, printed below.
Variety Club, currently ranked as the second highest rated horse in the world, by the Longines World’s Best Racehorse rankings, won 17 of his 23 career starts. He won 4 Gr1’s in his native land including the breed-shaping Gr1 Cape Guineas, the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queens’ Plate (WFA) and was a dual winner of the Gr1 Rising Sun.
Other notable Group victories included the Gr3 JWS Langerman, the Gr2 Matchem Stakes (WFA), Gr2 Selangor cup, Gr3 Tekkietown Winter guineas, Gr2 KRA Guineas and the Gr2 Greenpoint Stakes (WFA).
After being crowned SA Horse of the Year for the second consecutive time in 2013, it was time to take on the world’s best. A six month quarantine via Mauritius and Europe was followed by a win in the Gr3 Firebreak Stakes at Meydan in the UAE. Despite a rushed prep and still having to rush off a few cobwebs, Variety Club disposed of his opposition with ease, setting a new (unofficial) course record. He ran a creditable 2nd in the Gr3 Burj Nahaar in his next start, after which he was freshened up for the Gr2 Godolphin Mile on World Cup night. With a superb display of brilliant gate speed he had the appreciative crowd aghast with amazement as he flashed past the post, defeating another star studded field.
2014 Gr1 Hong Kong Champions Mile
With two International Group victories under his belt, Variety Club travelled to Hong Kong, to take on the worlds best in the Gr1 Champions Mile. Brilliant milers from around the globe assembled to try and wrestle the crown from the locals, a feat which all previous contenders had failed at. Despite another shocking draw, the SA Champ, under the masterful guidance of Anton Marcus, produced a career best performance, disposing of the best Hong Kong had to offer to win comfortably by four. The performance earned him a rating of 126 and left one of the worlds leading jockeys Joao Moreira expressing in amazement “he didn’t just beat us, he broke us into little pieces!”.
The brilliant sprinter/miler son of VAR, who was bred by Anton Shepherd at Beaumont Stud, is expected to arrive at the SA Champion Breeders, Klawervlei stud, early in December. He will commence stud duties in the 2015 season. A stud fee will be announced in due course.