Varian targets Champagne with Belardo

Belardo is on course for the £75,000 Group Two At The Races Champagne Stakes on the fourth and final day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, Saturday, September 13.

Roger Varian’s charge was among 45 acceptors for the seven-furlong contest earlier this week on the back of an impressive three and three quarter length victory in the Listed Washington Singer Stakes over the same distance at Newbury earleir in the month.

The son of freshman sire Lope De Vega made a successful debut at Yarmouth in June and followed that up with a fourth to star two-year-old Ivawood in the Group Two July Stakes at Newmarket on July 10, both over six furlongs.

Varian said today: “The Champagne Stakes is on Belardo’s agenda. He is in good order and really took the race well at Newbury. He has been training nicely and the Champagne Stakes is where we are looking to go next.

“It was a good performance last time. We were a bit worried about the ground beforehand but he handled it well. He travelled nicely and showed a good turn of foot, which was pleasing.

“He has now won on good to firm and good to soft and is showing that versatility which is always nice to see in a young horse.”

Belardo could clash with a number of exciting colts, none more so than the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair of Gleneagles and Highland Reel, who both captured Group Two contests last time out.

Dutch Connection (Charlie Hills), who captured a competitive renewal of the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York, is also engaged, while Richard Hannon’s five-strong entry is headlined by Group Two scorers Baitha Alga, Estidhkaar and Kool Kompany.

Impressive Chesham Stakes victor Richard Pankhurst (John Gosden) and the Karl Burke-trained pair of Glenalmond and Toocoolforschool are other notables going forward.

There is a £7,500 supplementary entry stage on Monday, September 8.

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