Vardani rediscovers winning form

Declan Bates seized his opportunity with a smart ride on Vardani to take out Sunday’s $125,000 Werribee Cup.

In a stop-start affair, Bates seized the initiative as the pace slackened by the side of the track, making a sustained run prior to the 600m which ultimately proved successful.

The French-bred galloper finished a length ahead of runner-up Adelaide Ace on the line, while Wertheimer closed off well for third.

“It’s actually been quite a while since I rode him and I’ve been keen to get back on him, and I’m lucky to get back on him at the right time, back when he was on top of the ground, that’s key to him,” Bates said.

The Irish rider revealed that it was only at the beginning of the race that he held any concerns during the 2000m event.

“He was a little sticky out of the gate, that was my only worrying moment,” Bates said.

“I was hoping to be a pair or two closer in the run, but from there he’s pretty much travelled nicely throughout.”

Vardani had been comfortably beaten in his three runs this campaign prior to Sunday’s assignment and as a result, he was sent off as a $26 chance.

However, trainer Archie Alexander noted there had been excuses for those seemingly disappointing performances.

“This horse, this prep, just nothing’s gone right for him,” Alexander said.

“I think, as an outsider looking in, his form looks terrible, but he’s had loads of excuses; wet tracks, he went to Moonee Valley the night they called the races off and he missed the run there.

“It was a seriously good ride by Declan, when the pace just weakened in the middle of the race, he said, ‘Let’s go,’ and that was the winning move.

“He loves fast ground and there’s a lot of really good owners in this horse, probably too many to mention, but they know who they are, great stable supporters and great for OTI (Racing) to get a nice Cup.”

WATCH: Vardani’s win in the 2022 Werribee Cup here

Vardani winning the 2022 Werribee Cup

The above is an excerpt of Edward Sadler’s article, which can be read in full here.