After five attempts at Group 1 level Mohammed Obaid’s Defoe found his place at the top table at the sixth time of asking by running down Kew Gardens to win the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
Running over a mile-and-a-half at the top level for the first time in Britain, Defoe overcame a pedestrian start and a semi-blocked passage in the straight to produce a sustained effort good enough to haul back last year’s St Leger winner with a little more than the official margin of half-a-length in hand. It was a fine piece of riding from the in-form Andrea Atzeni who would go on to record a treble on the day.
With the son of Dalakhani having been gelded over the winter a second shot at the Arc won’t be possible, but in the shorter term he will be entered in the King George at Ascot and already holds an entry in the Hardwicke at the Royal meeting next month.
The Coronation Cup is the second Group 1 victory in the space of five days for the yard after Zabeel Prince’s successful French raid, and Roger’s Group and Grade 1 tally now stands at 17 with Surfman to come in the Prix Du Jockey Club tomorrow.