Newmarket trainer Roger Varian has Khuzaam and Australis gunning for All-Weather Championships Finals Day glory
Newmarket-based trainer Roger Varian has two live chances on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park on Friday.
The Carlburg Stables handler saddles likely favourite Khuzaam in the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championships (4.45pm) and Australis in the opening Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships (2.00pm). 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.”
Meanwhile, 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 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.