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Trainer Roger Varian gets it right to claim Great Yarmouth racing’s biggest prize

PUBLISHED: 18:01 19 September 2018

Sheikha Reika wins the feature race, the John Musker Fillies Stakes, on day two of the Festival at Great Yarmouth Picture: Nick Butcher

Sheikha Reika wins the feature race, the John Musker Fillies Stakes, on day two of the Festival at Great Yarmouth Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Sheikha Reika confirmed trainer Roger Varian’s belief in her when landing the richest ever race at Great Yarmouth, the £50,000 John Musker Fillies Stakes over 10 furlongs.

Sheikha Reika, winner of the feature race at Great Yarmouth  Picture: Nick ButcherSheikha Reika, winner of the feature race at Great Yarmouth Picture: Nick Butcher

Ridden by Andrea Atzeni, Sheikha Reika took over from favourite Chain Of Daisies two furlongs out and strode away to win comfortably, at 7/1.

“The step up in trip from a mile to 10 furlongs and the fast ground were perfect for her. She is very talented,” said Newmarket-based Varian.

“She won at the start of the season at Newmarket’s Craven meeting but then she flipped over in the stalls at York.

“That really took her some time to get over. But we’ve always thought a lot of her and obviously today we are delighted to see her win this listed prize,” he added.

Millions Memories, winner of the 3pm race at Yarmouth with jockey Pat Cosgrave Picture: Nick ButcherMillions Memories, winner of the 3pm race at Yarmouth with jockey Pat Cosgrave Picture: Nick Butcher

The race proved a one-two for Varian as his 28/1 outsider Rasima ran on for second with Frankie Dettori on Scottish Jig third.

Godolphin’s newcomer Royal Meeting was an impressive winner of Division One of the two-year-old maiden over seven furlongs for Oisin Murphy and trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The 2/1 favourite was produced late to mow down Dettori on runner-up Alrajaa with another Godolphin colt, Aquanura, third.

“He is a horse for the future. His last piece of work, with some three-year-olds, was very good so we decided to let him run here,” said the trainer.

Pat Cosgrave steers 
Millions Memories to victory Picture: Nick ButcherPat Cosgrave steers Millions Memories to victory Picture: Nick Butcher

There was a shock in Division Two when Zoffany colt Millions Memories, reluctant to go into the stalls, made every yard to win under Pat Cosgrave for trainer David Lanigan at 40/1.

Sovereign Grant, owned by The Queen and ridden by Ryan Moore for trainer Sir Michael Stoute, sent off 4/6 favourite, could manage only third.

Murphy went on to complete a 17/1 double when seven-year-old Pactolus took the Sea-Deer Handicap for trainer Stuart Williams, at 5/1.

The gelding had won nine times on the all-weather but scored for the first time on turf, having fought hard in the closing stages to hold off late challenger Balgair.

Royal Meeting wins the 2.30 with jockey Oisin Murphy Picture: Nick ButcherRoyal Meeting wins the 2.30 with jockey Oisin Murphy Picture: Nick Butcher

James Doyle produced the William Haggas-trained Nicklaus to take the Parklands Leisure Handicap at 5/1 before the £20,000 Stanley Threadwell Handicap five-furlong sprint went to the 11/8 favourite, the Robert Cowell-trained Encore D’Or under Moore.

It was lucky 13 for 5/1 chance Princess Keira in the opening six-furlong Danny and Peggy Wright Memorial Handicap.

The Mick Quinn-trained filly produced a devastating late surge under Franny Norton to win for the first time on what was her 13th start.

Fittingly the finale went to the punters’ favourite Dettori, who made every yard a winning one on the John Gosden-trained Perfection, returned at 7/4.

Royal Meeting on the way to victory Picture: Nick ButcherRoyal Meeting on the way to victory Picture: Nick Butcher

The day’s total £123,000 in prizemoney, made it the richest day in the history of the course.

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