By Simon Jackson.
Roger Varian says Kingston Hill has a ‘fighting chance’ in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday where he will have to overcome the outside barrier draw.
Kingston Hill, an impressive winner of the Ladbrokes St Leger last month, today drew barrier 20 for the Arc that this year carries total prize money of £2,380,833.
Yet despite the awkward draw, Varian remains upbeat about the chances of the son of Mastercraftsman, who is best-priced at 20-1 for the Arc where he will again be partnered by Andrea Atzeni.
“I have been delighted with Kingston Hill since his win in the St Leger,” Varian said.
“He is showing me every sign that he has improved for that run and I am very happy with his condition.
“Obviously we would have preferred a better draw but we are excited to be involved in one of the best races in the world and go there with a fighting chance,” the trainer said on his website.
Kingston Hill’s victory in the St Leger secured the first Classic success for Varian and Atzeni.
The win proved just reward in an often frustrating season for this year’s Investec Derby runner-up, who had been forced to miss the Irish Derby and the Great Voltigeur due to firm ground after finishing second to Australia at Epsom.
Kingston Hill was always travelling well at his first attempt at the extended 14 furlongs of the St Leger, racing towards the rear of the field before improving to take it up inside the furlong and finish ahead of Romsdal with Snow Sky third.
“I can’t put it into words. It’s brilliant, it’s a relief and exciting,” Varian said after the victory. “It’s an exciting thing to win a Classic and it’s what we’re all in it for.
“It’s great for the horse. We’ve had a bit of heartache with him through the year. He came good on the day and Andrea gave him a brilliant ride.
“The plan was always to come with a long run down the outside as he’s not a horse who quickens instantly.
“He’s got a big, long stride and a long straight like this is ideal. I was a bit worried three out as I thought we might have a bit too much ground to cover, but he’s stayed on well and shown his class.
“I’m delighted for the horse to win a Group 1 this year. He looked a Classic horse at the start of the year and he’s won a Classic.”