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Roger Varian surprised to see Fifth Position among the betting frontrunners for Cambridgeshire Handicap

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Newmarket-based trainer Roger Varian has admitted he was ‘a bit surprised’ to learn that Fifth Position was among the favourites with bookmakers to win Saturday’s bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap (3.40pm).

A winner on one of his five starts, the three-year-old has a bit to prove after finishing a disappointing fifth of nine in the Group 3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood last month.

Nevertheless, along with the likes of the John Gosden-trained Star Of Bengal, Fifth Position – son of Dark Angel – was widely available as a 10-1 shot to triumph on the final day of the Rowley Mile’s Cambridgeshire Meeting.

Roger Varian
Roger Varian

A win would make eye-catching victories over back-to-back weekends for Varian, who saw joint favourite Pierre Lapin land the Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

“Fifth Position is a tidy horse who is learning all the time,” said Carlburg Stables-based Varian, who has never previously won the race at headquarters.

“Some bits and pieces of his form at Group 3 and Listed level read very well.

“He will not be inconvenienced by any rain that falls, will appreciate the nine furlong trip and the style of the race should suit him, so he has a good profile.

“I was a bit surprised when I saw that he was favourite this morning (Tuesday), though I never take too much notice of the betting market.

“I am not sure what price I was expecting but it wasn’t as short as 10-1.”

Ground permitting, Varian could also have UAE Jewel running in Friday’s Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes (3.35pm) after he impressed connections during a racecourse gallop at the Rowley Mile last Saturday morning.

Albany Stakes winner Daahyeh is also set to run at the meeting, but it remains to be seen whether Varian opts for Friday’s Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes (3pm) or Saturday’s Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (2.25pm).