sport

Variety dazzles in Mile

South African champion Variety Club delivered a powerful performance to lower the colours of Soft Falling Rain in the Godolphin Mile at Meydan.

The dual horse of the year in his homeland had a difficult draw in stall 15 but Anton Marcus bustled him quickly out of the gates and across to the inside.

Joey Ramsden's Variety Club (11-2) dominated from that point forward and while last year's winner and 11-4 favourite Soft Falling Rain sat just behind under Paul Hanagan, he could never assert himself and was well held in second.

Ramsden said: "For any local South African horse to come all this way just to compete, let alone win, is just incredible.

"Anton did the most magical job. He was quite lucky in getting a soft lead and that's obviously what's helped him along the way.

"Things didn't go great for him last time out, but it went very smoothly this time."

Marcus said: "This just means so much. To put a big one on the board for Marcus (Jooste, owner) is huge.

"He overcame his draw pretty economically and won the race pretty effortlessly. "

Soft Falling Rain was eventually beaten a length and trainer Mike de Kock said: "That is a huge result for South Africa.

"I did suspect my horse might just come on for the run and there's no doubt he was running on empty in the last 100 yards.

"He's going to improve a fair way on that and we'll take him to Hong Kong for the Champions Mile."

French raider Flotilla was noticeably unlucky in finishing a nose away in third.

Jockey Christophe Lemaire said: "The pace wasn't as strong as we thought it would be and I had to come a bit wider than I would have liked.

"It was a huge effort from the filly and we're very happy with her."

Flotilla's trainer Mikel Delzangles said: "She has been away a long time and we need to take her home.

"I will speak to the owners, she may get retired or could go for the Champions Mile."