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Pierre Lapin in good shape for Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot




Newmarket trainer Roger Varian is confident Pierre Lapin will be able to overcome a nine-month absence from the track during tomorrow’s Group 1 Commonwealth Cup outing at Royal Ascot (3.35pm).

The six-furlong contest, which forms part of the 35-race QIPCO British Champions Series, has been at the top of Pierre Lapin’s agenda since he landed the Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes in decisive style at Newbury in September.

Bury Road-based Varian would have ideally liked to have given the half brother to Harry Angel a prep run, but those plans were impacted by the delayed start to the season due to Covid-19.

Trainer Roger Varian wears a face mask at Newmarket Racecourse. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday June 4, 2020. See PA story RACING Newmarket. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. (36810362)
Trainer Roger Varian wears a face mask at Newmarket Racecourse. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday June 4, 2020. See PA story RACING Newmarket. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. (36810362)

Nevertheless, Varian has reported the 7/2 favourite is in fine shape for Friday’s showpiece.

“We felt it was a bit tight running in the Pavilion at Newcastle (on June 4) beforehand and liked the idea of getting him to Ascot as a fresh horse,” he said.

“We’d have loved to have got a prep run into him in May but he’s not a horse I wanted to go bang-bang with and so we took the decision to try and get him cherry ripe for Ascot.

“He’s probably got to overcome a little bit of inexperience but he is a very natural horse and he won in Group company after a four-month lay-off on only his second start.

“Hopefully, his ability will shine through and he will be streetwise enough for the big day.”