About Roger

ROGER VARIAN is a Classic-winning racehorse trainer with 14 Group One victories to his name. Now in his eighth season with a license, Roger has made an immediate impact on his profession since taking over the reins from long-time boss and legendary mentor Michael Jarvis in 2011, saddling over 500 winners, including more than 60 stakes victories across the globe.

Having trained out of Kremlin House Stables on Newmarket’s Fordham Road for the first six seasons of his career, Roger secured a personal-best tally of 109 domestic winners in 2017, his first year operating out of the historic Carlburg Stables on the adjacent Bury Road, the former base of pioneering globetrotter Clive Britain. 

Included in the domestic cohort were Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s Defoe, a four-time winner who progressed through the ranks to land the G3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, and All-Weather Championships heroine Realtra, who subsequently secured a brace of Group Three successes in Ireland.

However, 2017 will be best remembered for Roger’s flair with his international raiders having saddled Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum’s Nezwaah to win the G1 Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland and Ajman Princess to win the G1 Prix Jean-Romanet at Deauville.

The latter carried the yellow and black-spotted silks of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, who also owned the highest-rated horse to pass through Roger’s care in the form of Postponed, an elegant son of Dubawi whose hat-trick of Group 1 victories in the Sheema Classic, Coronation Cup and Juddmonte International led to him being crowned Timeform Champion Older Horse in 2016.

Alongside Belardo, who won the G1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in the same season, Postponed helped to secure a domestic prize-money tally of just shy of £2,400,000 and a global total of over £5,000,000 for the calendar year – Roger’s personal-best tally by that indicator.

Roger has saddled one Classic winner so far, securing the 2014 G1 St Leger with Kingston Hill, who had previously finished runner-up in the G1 Derby and would go on to finish a highly-creditable fourth in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe from the widest of draws in stall 20. The win was also a first Classic success for jockey Andrea Atzeni, who is retained rider for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, first-choice jockey to Varian Stable and a vital member of the team.

Roger also saddled three two-year-old Group One winners in 2014, landing the Moyglare Stud Stakes with Cursory Glance, the Criterium International with Vert De Grece and the Dewhurst Stakes with Belardo, who went on to secure top juvenile honours in the European Free Handicap.

Cursory Glance was also victorious in the G3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, while talented mare Ambivalent struck in the G2 Middleton Stakes at York having previously finished third in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan, a race that has become a staple of the Varian Stable calendar.

2015 saw the Varian Stable team send out over 100 winners for the first time in a calendar year with quality again to the fore thanks to the Pattern-race successes of Intilaaq, Steps and Realtra.

In hindsight, the early signs were always good as Roger’s very first runner, Laaheb, finished fourth in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic, while his maiden representative on home soil, Eton Forever, stormed to victory in the Spring Mile at Doncaster.

In September 2011, Roger joined the select group of trainer’s to saddle a Group One winner in their first season with a license when Nahrain won the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp on Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe afternoon.

Group One success has been achieved regularly since, with Nahrain landing the Flower Bowl Stakes at Belmont in 2012, Ambivalent the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in 2013 and Kingston Hill the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in the October of the same year. The son of Mastercraftsman was partnered by Andrea Atzeni on Town Moor, who made history by becoming the first rider to win of four consecutive renewals of the prestigious juvenile prize between 2013 and 2016.

In terms of pedigree, Roger does not hail from a racing background but he enjoyed watching the sport as a child. At the age of 13, he began to ride-out point-to-pointers for Alan and Lawney Hill and subsequently set his heart on becoming a National Hunt jockey having been well and truly captivated by the sport.

After school, Roger worked for Ian and Tockie McKie before moving to the legendary Josh Gifford’s stable, riding seven winners as a conditional jockey.

Prior to his stint at Gifford’s, Roger spent ten weeks during the summer working for Michael at Kremlin House Stables and, little did he know at the time, but this would be one of the most significant things he would ever do.

Roger then went to America to take up the offer of a three-month placement with Maryland-based jumps trainer Jack Fisher. Six weeks into his stay Roger had a bad fall and smashed his wrist, putting an end to his riding dreams.

On hearing about the accident, Michael asked him to return home to become his assistant trainer and during a ten-year stint as second in command, Roger helped oversee the careers of Oaks winner Eswarah, five-time Group One scorer Rakti, top sprinter Iffraaj and the globe-trotting Pressing among others. The rest, as they say, is very much history.
 

Roger Patrick Varian

  • Age: 39
  • Married to: Hanako Sonobe
  • Children: Two daughters Momoka and Reika, One son Eiji
  • Winners Ridden: 7 under rules
  • Hobbies outside racing: All round sports enthusiast, especially golf
  • Other interests: Anything involving food - cooking to eating out
  • Favourite holiday destination: Positano, Italy
  • Favourite film: Gladiator
  • Drives: Overfinch Evoque
  • Radio Station: Radio 2 and Absolute when in the London area and Five Live for sport
  • Sporting hero: Luke Donald
  • A fact you didn’t know about Roger: His first full-time job was making pizza at Round Table Pizza, Agoura Hills, California.

 

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