Roger Varian’s team had been somewhat under a cloud for much of August but it looks as though there will be better times ahead going into the rest of the campaign, judged by the success of the yard’s Cameron Highland in the listed EBF Stallion August Stakes at Windsor.
Given a fine ride by the Italian, Andrea Atzeni – who was taking his seasonal tally to 78 – the four-year-old was repeating his victory in the same event 12 months earlier. Clearly appreciating the rain-softened ground and picking up in style after being held up for much of the contest, he stormed into the leading just inside the final two furlongs, after which Shirocco Star was always giving vain pursuit to the eventual easy three-length winner.
Clearly well suited to easy conditions, (but also perfectly capable on a quicker surface as he demonstrated on his previous start when landing an Epsom conditions event by eight-lengths from Ashdan), Cameron Highland looks like a worthy distraction from the build-up to the cheltenham festival 2014, improving for the application of a hood.
Landing his fifth win from 11 starts, the son of Galileo is effective at between 10 and 12 furlongs and may now step up to a higher level in his bid for a hattrick. For Varian, the victory must have come as something of a relief, the Newmarket handler having decided not to have any runners at the Ebor Festival due to concerns over the wellbeing of his string.
Cameron Highland is expected to be kept in training next term as a five-year-old and connections believe that he is getting better all the time. The hope will surely be that he can go some way to picking up the mantle of his own Sultan Ahmad Shah’s star performer, Sri Putra, who has been such a grand servant to the Varian team in recent years.