18 May 2024

Philosophical Varian grateful for opportunity amid King Of Steel speculation

18 May 2024

Roger Varian described himself as “grateful of the opportunity” to have trained King Of Steel, after conceding he does not know if he will return to his yard when he recovers from the injury that has sidelined him for the summer.

Under Varian’s guidance, the imposing colt finished second in the Derby and landed both the King Edward VII Stakes and the Qipco Champion Stakes last season, providing Amo Racing – Kia Joorabchian’s racing enterprise –  with its biggest victories to date.

The horse was being prepared by Varian for his four-year-old season when injury intervened and scuppered plans that had included the Brigadier Gerard, Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Coral-Eclipse.

King Of Steel has been sent to recuperate at another yard owned by Joorabchian, who had appeared to cast doubt over whether he would return to Varian’s Newmarket stable when talking to ITV Racing earlier in the day.

Varian was philosophical and expressed his gratitude for being sent the horse in the first place.

“He has left the yard, but he is injured and will miss his summer targets, so there is no need for him to be with me all summer,” he said.

When asked if he knew if King Of Steel would return to Carlburg Stables, Varian continued: “No, not as far as I know, but you also have to bear in mind I didn’t train him as a two-year-old and David Loughnane was the one on the sidelines watching him have all the fun last year.

“His future is uncertain and he has to recover from the injury first and foremost and I think before we worry about too many human sides of the story we have to think of the horse and how disappointed the owner is and team Amo. He is a horse they were going to build their year around and the same for my team, we were hoping to build our summer around him.

“Everyone is disappointed, it’s very recent and still a bit raw and we’re dealing with it. I can’t say much more than that as I don’t know his future. He’s fine, but he’s injured and is going to miss the summer and that is hugely gutting for everyone involved from the owner, to us, the fans. It’s a tough game and something we have to take on the chin and move on.

“Look at the week Charlie Appleby has had with his Derby hopes, one is sadly no longer with us and the other has been ruled out. It’s a tough game.

“I have no Amo horses in the yard at the moment. I’m not mudslinging and I have a hell of a lot of respect for Kia and we’ve been on a hell of a ride the last 12 months.

“I was grateful of the opportunity to train King Of Steel and a few others, other people lose out and I’ve lost out before, it’s an up and down game.

“We have to move on and we’re all sad about this situation – me and my team, Kia and his team, the public – we all wanted to see King Of Steel at Sandown next week and it is a huge shame we’re not going to be able to.”

Joorabchian spoke to ITV’s Matt Chapman at Newbury and cast the initial doubt over Varian’s future involvement with King Of Steel when saying: “King Of Steel has got an injury and he’s moved, we have our own yard and all of our injured horses go there.

“I don’t like to talk about the future, people ask me ‘what are the plans for him?’. At the moment I went to see him today, he looks great. Fingers crossed.

“We’re very, very disappointed, very, very heartbroken about what has happened.

“He was a very sound horse, I believe he shouldn’t have been where he is today – I’m devastated about it.

“I don’t think we will ever, ever rush him. We will wait and make sure he’s 100 per cent before we make any decision on what we’re going to do with him for the future.”

When pressed by Chapman on whether Varian was still training for Amo in any capacity, Joorabchian said: “You’re pushing a button which I don’t want to discuss about. In racing, people don’t want to hear the truth and I don’t want to discuss anything else.”

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