MAYFAIR Speculators confirmed on Thursday, 2 October, that international star Variety Club will be retired to stud. Owners Markus and Ingrid Jooste had recently decided to call it a day with the dual SA Horse of the Year.. They will stand him at Klawervlei Stud in the interest of the South African racing and breeding industries.
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).
Variety Club galloped to international fame and crowd popularity, and into the history books.
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.
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.
Photos by hkjc.com and South China Morning Post.