PUNTERS were left scratching their heads after the opening group race on Railway Stakes day as three-year-old gelding Variation took out the Group 2 WA Guineas at double figure odds.
Variation found a split late in the piece and surged to the front in the final 100m to record an incredible win at the $22 price, tipping out short priced favourite Ellicazoom ($1.70 to place at Sportsbet.com.au) who timed its run perfectly but could not match the mare over the final stages.
Three-year-old gelding Ragazzo D’oro stayed on well to finish third at $7.90, holding out a fast finishing Final Salute.
Jockey Damian Lane was only confirmed as the pilot for the winner a week ago, and despite threading a passage through to tip out the race favourite, Lane conceded he was less than pleased with his own performance.
“It was nearly a really bad ride … I was lucky I had a good horse underneath me.” Lane said.
The Western Australian native said the connections have a progressive type on their hands.
“He’s got a great attitude and as you see he’s got the ability there and there’s a lot more improvement to come.”
Trainer Steven Miller said his three-year-old has always displayed plenty of ability and was confident the War Chant product was always capable of putting together a Group win.
Eyebrows were raised given the calibre of races Variation went through in the lead up to the Guineas, but Miller believes the pathway was flawless.
“The horse has always shown us a lot.” Miller said.
“I thought his last win was very good, we were stepping up in class, we had to have a dip at it – it’s just bloody tremendous.
“He has got a fair bit of ability, we just had to place him right.”
The run was Variation’s fourth run over five weeks, and Miller was succinct in describing what is next for the heavily raced runner.
“(He’s off) to the paddock.”