Trainer Stephen Miller would love nothing more than for Variation to return to his best and end a long winning drought in today’s Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m) at Belmont Park.
It has been 798 days since Variation’s last win came in the Listed Aquanita Stakes (2000m) at Belmont.
Hoof problems that sidelined Variation for almost 16 months were to blame for most of the drought.
He has been bursting to win a race after placing in his past three starts, including a close second to Great Again in the Listed Idyllic Prince Stakes (1300m) first-up.
Despite being on the verge of the Ascot carnival, Miller isn’t making any big plans for the son of War Chant.
“I’d like him to win a race to see if he’s anywhere near being back to his best,” Miller said.
Variation, who was beaten less than a length when fourth in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) in 2017, is a $7 chance with TABtouch today.
The 2016 WA Guineas winner has a wide draw to contend with.
He will come into barrier 10 after Tamasa was scratched yesterday.
“It’s hard to say where he’s going to lob but I don’t think it matters,” Miller said. “He can get himself into any position. I’ll leave it to Brad (Parnham), he knows the horse pretty well.
“His first-up run was really good and he came through it well. He’s starting to clean-up in his coat, so hopefully he improves a bit.
“With a bit of luck he should acquit himself well.”
Parnham has ridden Variation in six of his seven career wins. Tellem We’re Comin, to be ridden by William Pike, is the $3.10 favourite for the Farnley.
Meanwhile, Parnham’s trainer father Neville is confident Malibu Style will become WA’s latest equine millionaire with victory in today’s Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington.
The consistent sprinter has won 11 of 57 starts and $890,925 in prize money.
“For him to earn that amount is a really good achievement,” Neville Parnham said.
“I’m confident enough that he’ll give a good performance. He won a jump-out last week by about six lengths.”
Malibu Style is a $7.50 chance today.
Parnham’s youngest son Chris will ride the gelding.