Roger Varian's Mot Juste and Qabala set to open up in the Group 3 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes as part of Newmarket's Craven Meeting
Newmarket trainer Roger Varian has revealed that he could run both Mot Juste and Qabala in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes on the opening day of the bet365 Craven Meeting as Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse gets its season under way next Tuesday.
A £60,000 Group 3 event for three-year-old fillies, the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes is run over a distance of seven furlongs and has attracted 16 entries.
It is a recognised trial for the Group 1 QIPCO 1000 Guineas over a mile of the same course on May 5 – last year Billesdon Brook finished fourth prior to springing a 66-1 surprise in the Guineas itself.
Mot Juste has the stronger form of the Varian duo. She ended her two-year-old season by defeating two other Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn entries – Angel’s Hideaway and Sunday Star – by three-quarters of a length and a neck in the Group 3 Dubai Oh So Sharp Stakes over this same track and trip on October 12.
Qabala, meanwhile, is also a course and distance winner having landed her only start to date, a division of the Blandford Bloodstock Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, on the Rowley Mile on September 29.
“Mot Juste has wintered well and strengthened up considerably. The Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn is the logical place to start her off," said Varian.
“I am pleased with the way she has been working but, although she is ready for a run, the Nell Gwyn will bring her on and we are treating it as a stepping stone to the rest of the season for her.
“She has a fast ground action – the ground is quite important to her – so the dry forecast is in her favour. I hope that she is a filly good enough to merit a place in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas line-up.
“Qabala is a slightly different type. She’s only run once in her life but she put up quite an impressive performance for a filly on her debut.
“Conditions on Tuesday should suit her too and, since they have different owners, there is no reason why both of them shouldn’t run in the Nell Gwyn.
“Qabala is a filly full of potential and I think that she is a Group Race performer of the future. If she runs on Tuesday it will tell us a lot about her current level and if she is more of a filly for later in the season."
Carlburg Stables-based Varian has also entered his dual Group 1 runner-up Defoe in the Group 2 £100,000 Roaring Lion Jockey Club Stakes on Saturday, May 4 at the Rowley Mile.
“Defoe is in great form. The Roaring Lion Jockey Club Stakes would be a good target for him even though it looks a stronger renewal than last year," added the trainer.
“His owner decided to have him gelded over the winter and I am very much in agreement with his decision as it should elongate his career and he is a fun horse to have around.”