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Variety Club Wins Hong Kong Gr1 The Champions Mile
At Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, 5YO South African entire Variety Club (Var-La Massine, by Secret Prospector) scored by 4-lengths for trainer Mike de Kock in the HK$12 million Gr1 The Champions Mile (1600m) for 3YO+, over 4YO gelding Able Friend (Shamardal-Ponte Piccolo, by Volksraad) & 6YO Irish-gelding Dan Excel (Shamardal-Love Excelling, by Polish Precedent). Variety Club took his record to 17 wins (including the Gr1 Gold Challenge - twice, Gr1 Queen's Plate & Gr1 Cape Guineas) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 Cape Derby) from 23 starts for HK$16,197945 earnings. "It's huge for us, it's huge for South Africa, it's fantastic for South African breeding," said a delighted Mike de Kock, for whom this was the Markus and Ingrid Jooste-owned five-year-old's first official start. "Ultimately we will probably be thinking about the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp and then probably the Breeders' Cup Mile. I'm not sure if he will have a race in England – we'll see how he pulls up but we want to give him a break. The Prix de la Foret is a qualifying race for the Breeders' Cup, so it makes sense to go there," said the owner's racing manager, Derek Brugman.