Trainer Stephen Miller is adamant fitness won’t stop quality gelding Variation from winning the Listed Grandstand Cup (1500m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Variation is on the road back after feet issues had sidelined him since his fourth placing in the 2017 Group One Railway Stakes (1600m).
The setback ruled Variation out of a Melbourne autumn campaign and cost him any chance of competing in rich features at the Ascot carnival last year.
The $100,000 Grandstand Cup marks the second run back for Variation after he ran a solid fifth to Achernar Star in the Bunbury Stakes (1400m) two weeks ago.
Miller says the son of War Chant, who has one win and three placings from four second-attempts, had derived benefit from his first run in 15-months.
“I think he has improved a little bit,” Miller told Tabradio.
“He has been good since the run and come through it very good.
“He always seems to improve on his first starts.
“I think his fitness is pretty much right.
“He looks like he is going to be a pretty decent price.
“I’d say it’s worth having something on him tomorrow.
“It should be good to see how he goes.
“I think he will run a creditable race.”
Variation is quoted at $7.50 and has drawn barrier one for in-form jockey, Mitch Pateman.
Miller won the Grandstand Cup previously as a jockey, partnering Bar Dreamer in 1996.
Achernar Star and Tellem We’re Comin share $3.70 favouritism in the Grandstand Cup after their one-two finish respectively in the Bunbury Stakes.
Achernar Star lumps the 60.5kg for Shaun McGruddy. The Simon Miller trained-four-year-old will start from barrier three.
Tellem We’re Comin, a luckless second to Achernar Star in the Bunbury Stakes, is on the 54kg minimum. Chris Parnham retains the ride.
Miller says he is confident Achernar Star can carry his big weight, but says Tellem We’re Comin will pose a serious threat.
“He is exactly where he was leading into Bunbury,” Miller said.
“If he is not winning he should be thereabouts.
“I think he will be okay with it (weight), but I’m always wary these up and comers down the bottom you have to give weight to.”