03/29/2014 10:38AM

Godolphin Mile: Variety Club holds off Soft Falling Rain


South African export Soft Falling Rain failed to repeat his 2013 win in the $1 million Godolphin Mile, falling a length short of another South African export, Variety Club, in a sharp renewal Saturday at Meydan Racecourse of the one-mile race over Tapeta.

Variety Club, a multiple champion in South Africa spending his first winter in Dubai for trainer Joey Ramsden, overcame a difficult wide post en route to an impressive victory. Breaking from post 14 under Anton Marcus, Variety Club got away alertly and soon took up the running, with Soft Falling Rain settling into a tracking position. Variety Club set a solid tempo but turned into the long homestretch with plenty of run, seeing off a sustained run from Soft Falling Rain and a late outside move from the filly Flotilla, the only horse in the race making up late ground, her rally falling a nose short of second.

Variety Club had scored his eighth straight win when he captured the Feb. 13 Firebreak Stakes in his Dubai debut, but he was pressured on the lead and could only finish second in his prep for the Godolphin Mile, the March 8 Burj Nahaar. On Saturday, Variety Club got to dictate terms, and that made all the difference.

“I was very surprised they didn’t give him a bit more pressure,” Ramsden said.

Variety Club, a 6-year-old by Var, won for the 16th time in 22 races, running a one-turn mile in 1:37.28 and paying $7.20 to win in North American wagering.