DEFOE is fancied to beat some illustrious rivals to register a repeat victory in the Group 1 Hurworth Bloodstock Coronation Cup (3.35) at Newmarket.
Roger Varian’s six-year-old, who arrived late to get the better of Kew Gardens and lift the 12-furlong prize at Epsom 12 months ago, must overcome Group 1 winner Ghaiyyath, star stayer Stradivarius and last year’s Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck if he is to repeat the trick.
But the gelded son of Dalakhani, who captured the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes over this course and distance two years ago, can prove up to the job.
Defoe’s progress from handicapper to Group 1 winner is the latest example of trainer Varian’s craft.
He produced his best form at five in 2010 – Defoe followed his Coronation Cup triumph with a victory in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot – so Andrea Atzeni’s mount is expected to prove a potent force back at the highest level now the season is underway.
There’s more quality action at Lingfield and KING CARNEY should take some catching in the Listed Betsafe Derby Trial (3.15).
The Charlie Fellowes-trained son of 2014 Derby hero Australia took time to learn his trade as a juvenile – he was beaten at Haydock Park and Newcastle before making it third time lucky at Nottingham in October.
But, with that success under his belt, King Carney stepped up to Listed grade to capture the Silver Tankard Stakes over a mile at Pontefract 12 days later.
There is plenty of progress still to come from Kieran Shoemark’s mount, for whom the additional two furlongs here are a definite plus.
3.00 SANGARIUS (NAP)
3.35 DEFOE (NB)
4.10 EDINBURGH CASTLE
4.45 RENAISSANCE QUEEN
5.55 GOLDEN APOLLO
6.30 WENTWORTH FALLS
12.55 MIGHTY GURKHA
1.30 MARK OF THE MAN
2.40 HEART REEF
3.15 KING CARNEY
4.25 SILVER DUST
5.00 ROYAL DYNASTY
DOUBLE: SANGARIUS and DEFOE