Defoe sprang a surprise for trainer Roger Varian by winning Friday’s Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom. A strong field of nine runners contested the Group One race and Defoe was not expected to be among the leading contenders having been beaten on his five previous outings at the highest level, while he had also come up short in Group Two and Three races earlier this year.
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John Gosden’s high-class mare Lah Ti Dar was sent off the narrow favourite, while Charlie Appleby’s Sheema Classic hero Old Persian and Aidan O’Brien’s highly-rated Kew Gardens were all expected to fare better than Defoe. It was the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum-owned horse that emerged victorious, however, and Varian was delighted to see the grey gelding rediscover his best form during the race.
“You dream about results like that,” Varian said. “I’m so happy for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid who is a great supporter and has been very patient, and I’m happy for the team at home who are doing a great job. I’m delighted with the result and it is fully deserved for the horse.”
Varian, who had previously trained Postponed to Coronation Cup glory in 2016, has now confirmed that Defoe’s next run is likely to come in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July. “He will certainly get an entry (in the King George) and we will see,” Varian added.