De­foe beats Ver­don as bold bid foiled

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING -

AF­TER a brief scare De­foe ran out a ready win­ner of the Du­naden Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket. A fur­long out James Doyle made a bold bid for the rail on Red Ver­don and at one stage he was a good three or four lengths clear of the odds-on mar­ket leader.

Andrea Atzeni did not panic, though, and the 1/2 favourite hit top gear and pow­ered clear up the hill.

The four-year-old has now only met with de­feat once in his last seven out­ings and that came in the St Leger.

Only sup­ple­mented into the Group Two last Mon­day by con­nec­tions, Roger Var­ian’s De­foe re­paid them in no un­cer­tain terms.

Atzeni said: “I could see James on the far rail, but I’d al­ready made a plan to fol­low Oisin (Mur­phy, on Count Oc­tave) and I couldn’t switch.

“He did well to win. At one point when James grabbed the rail I thought ‘we need a good horse here to pick him up’, but when he hit the ris­ing ground he gal­loped out nicely.

“We don’t know how good this fel­low is, he keeps im­prov­ing and could be any­thing.”

Var­ian said: “It was a tough race to watch and it al­ways threat­ened to be a tac­ti­cal race, they went steady but Andrea al­ways looked com­fort­able.

“James made a very good move on the blind side and it looked like he might have stolen it.

“I was re­ally im­pressed with him and he got us out of trou­ble. It looked like he was about eight lengths out of his ground and he had to pick it up and see it out strongly up the hill.

“As hard as it was to watch, the re­sult was im­pres­sive in the man­ner he did it.

“I was very grate­ful to the owner for sup­ple­ment­ing him. He’s in the Tat­ter­salls Gold Cup (at the Cur­ragh) in three weeks and it’s a route we’d still like to go down, but we’ll see how he is and how he trains in the next 10 days.

“Royal As­cot is the aim, but ground might dic­tate our plans. We got away with it to­day but if the ground got quick we might have to pro­tect him.”

Ed Dun­lop, Red Ver­don’s trainer, said: “It was a very nice run and we nearly nicked it, but the win­ner is a very good horse.

“He is very adapt­able, as we tried the marathon route on the all-weather, but I’d say the win­ner is a Group One horse. He’s in the Hard­wicke and var­i­ous other races and that could be un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

“The own­ers likes to go to Mel­bourne, as you know, and while it seems early, it might be some­thing to think about in time.”

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