He shoots, he scores: Defoe continues his rise with comfortable Group 2 victory
Roger Varian's progressive grey Defoe showcased his class with a comfortable victory in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes.
Although jockey Andrea Atzeni was happy to sit still whilst the other jockeys quickened off a slow pace, Defoe eventually picked up to win convincingly.
Sent off the 1-2 favourite after winning the Group 3 John Porter Stakes at Newbury last time, Defoe settled in second behind Count Octave – who finished ahead of him in the St Leger last season – with Khalidi, Master The World and Red Verdon following.
It was James Doyle who made the first move aboard Red Verdon, asking his mount to quicken up the stands' rail.
He briefly looked to have his rivals on the stretch, but Defoe quickened up and strode clear in the closing stages to win by three and three-quarter lengths. Red Verdon stuck on well for second at at 14-1.
Varian indicated Defoe's next start could be in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. Paddy Power cut the four-year-old to 4-1 (from 5-1).
The trainer said: "It was a tough race to watch. It always threatened to be tactical. They went steady and Andrea always looked comfortable but James [Doyle] made a very good move on his blindside, came very quick and got the rail.
"I was really impressed with how the horse got us out of trouble. He looked about eight lengths out of his ground. As hard as it was to watch the result was impressive in the manner that he did it.
He added: "Whether ten or twelve [furlongs] will be his trip at the top level is something we have to find out. We might have to protect him at the height of the summer on firm ground. We'd love to consider the Arc."
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