Roger Varian’s Defoe heads for Saturday’s Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury before possible tilt at the St Leger


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Varian’s three-year-old is unbeaten this season and was last seen winning the Listed Glasgow Stakes and he looks sure to relish this step up in distance at Newbury

DEFOE looks to bolster his St Leger claims in Saturday’s Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

Roger Varian’s colt is unbeaten this season and has looked highly progressive.

Varian said: “He’s in good shape. He’s been progressive all year and we’re looking forward to running him up in distance again.

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Defoe is a 12-1 shot for the St Leger

“He’s a very likeable horse. He’s a good goer and he has a good attitude. He seems to be getting better and better.

“We’ve always thought he’d stay well. The race he won last time at Hamilton, the further he went the better he looked – he needed the whole of that trip to wear down Frankuus.

Roger Varian


Varian has the St Leger in mind for Defoe

“He looks like he’ll get better when he runs over further. We’ve got the St Leger very much at the back of our minds but he’s got to improve a fair bit still.”

Standing in his way is Charlie Appleby’s Frontiersman, who has some classy form to his name.


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Frontiersman (left) has some good form to his name

Appleby said: “If he repeats either of his last two runs he’s sure to go close.

“He’s given me every indication that he’s in the same sort of form. In fact, I’ve never had him better. His work has been good and the ground will be fine for him.

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“I’m struggling to think of a negative, to be honest. He’s won at Newbury before and if he brings his A-game then he’s got to have a serious chance.”

Hugo Palmer runs both Crimean Tatar and Wall Of Fire but both horses are on something of a retrieval mission.

Palmer told At The Races: “Crimean Tatar hated the bottomless ground at York and came back sick, so I think he’s still very much a blank canvas, having run well in the John Porter.

“He hasn’t run since May but he’s been training great and I’m very happy with him.

Palmer runs both Crimean Tatar and Wall Of Fire


Palmer runs both Crimean Tatar and Wall Of Fire

“Wall Of Fire got an awful ride in Belmont and then went a bit flat when he came back so we left him alone.

“He’s owned by Australians and his target is the Caulfield Cup and/or Mellbourne Cup so a third-place finish would be really important to help qualify.”



Horseplay bids to get back to winning ways

Irish interests are served by The Tartan Spartan, winner of a Listed race at Down Royal last time out for trainer Pat Shanahan.

The Brian Meehan-trained Agent Murphy won this race two years ago but must return from a lengthy absence.

John Gosden’s To Eternity, the Mick Channon-trained Harlequeen and Horseplay from Andrew Balding’s yard complete the field.

Frankie Dettori admits he’d ‘stick with the horse’ during snog marry avoid on Loose Women

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