Mission To Moon completes quickfire double for Roger Varian

Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

Fresh from landing the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes with Al Husn 35 minutes earlier, Roger Varian wasted no time in doubling up with Mission To Moon in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Nursery.

Having finished second on two of his three previous starts, Mission To Moon had a mark of 81 for his handicap debut and was racing on the slowest ground he has encountered so far.

The King Power Racing-owned runner was always well placed under David Egan and, once switched to the outside, powered home to win by three lengths.

Gamraan (28/1) stayed on from the rear to take second, while 13/8 favourite Gray’s Inn, who was 17lb ‘well in’ after finishing fourth in a Listed race at Sandown last week, was third.

Varian said: “Mission To Moon has been a work in progress, and was very green on debut. He didn't really do himself justice but ran fine the last twice. In those small-runner novice fields he had to make the running twice and just got passed by one with more experience on each occasion.

"I thought he would run well today and the festival set-up would suit him with a big field and strong pace. He was able to get a good position, but not lead, and David gave him a nicely timed ride and the horse got through the ground okay and was strong through the line.

"The Goffs Million is definitely something to think about, but we have no big plan and I was encouraged by the way he handled the ground. For any autumn races we won't have to be shy about soft ground and hopefully he can keep progressing.”

Egan said: “Mission To Moon is a horse who definitely relished the testing conditions today. He has raced on quicker surfaces but I think that is his preferred surface. Coming into the autumn now, he should benefit from the ground having a bit of ease in it.

“I had a nice draw in six, luckily for me the boss is pretty open to how I ride them – I’m riding them on instinct a lot of the time. I thought they went a nice gallop in front, but he is a horse who doesn’t do anything quickly, so I was glad I was able to sit one off the fence so that I could angle out nice and early. He didn’t do anything too quick from the three to the two, but once we got inside the two-furlong pole, he stayed on well. He is probably a horse who could get a mile.”

4.10pm Jaeger-LeCoultre Nursery
1 Mission To Moon (King Power Racing) Roger Varian 2-8-13 David Egan 14/1
2 Gamraan (Al Mohamediya Racing) Richard Fahey 2-8-10 Jason Watson 28/1
3 Gray’s Inn (SYPS (UK) LTD)) Jack Channon 2-8-05 Thore Hammer Hansen 13/8F
13 ran

Roger Varian – 9th Qatar Goodwood Festival winner
David Egan – 4th Qatar Goodwood Festival winner

4.45pm Buccellati Handicap