Last season’s leading three year old Variation is overdue for a win when he lines up in the Group 3 $250,000 Seacorp-A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) at Ascot in Perth on Saturday.
The Stephen Miller trained Variation has had four runs this preparation as a four year old for three placings and a last start fourth to Great Shot in the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on November 25.
Variation will be dropping back to 1400m from the mile and Miller has freshened him up with plenty of beach work since his last run in preparation for his step up to weight for age company in the A.J. Scahill Stakes.
“He seems well,” Miller told The West Australian.
“He’s gone to that next grade now and he’s only a small horse, so I think it will be a test at weight-for-age.”
A breakthrough win this campaign in the A.J. Scahill Stakes will see Miller map out a program in the Eastern States during the 2018 Autumn Carnival.
“We’ll give him a break and then have a look at races over there,” Miller said.
“We won’t be looking at any of the bigger races.
“We’ll have a look at what our options are, but the main thing is to get through Saturday and see how he measures up at weight-for-age.”
Variation has been installed as the $3.30 favourite for the A.J. Scahill Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au on the strength of his consistent Spring form that saw him finish second to Kingston Town Classic winner Pounamu in the Group 3 $150,000 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on November 4 followed by a third to Properantes in the Group 3 $150,000 R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m) at Ascot on November 18.
Regular rider Brad Parnham takes the ride again on Variation who has drawn barrier six in the nine horse A.J. Scahill Stakes field while $4.40 second favourite State Solicitor has drawn barrier seven with Chris Parnham in the saddle.
The Darren Weir trained Ulmann (Brad Rawiller, barrier 8) is also well in the betting at $4.50 ahead of $5.50 chance Profit Street (Jarrad Noske, barrier 9) from the stable of Bunbury trainers Peter and Matthew Giadresco.