TOP trainer Roger Varian is hoping to kick the new season off in style.
Defoe and Pierre Lapin, who both carry the colours of Sheikh Obaid, will start their respective campaigns in Group 1 company in the coming weeks.
Stable star Defoe will attempt to defend his crown in the Coronation Cup, usually run at Epsom but this year held at Newmarket on 5 June.
Regular rider Andrea Atzeni reported the six-year-old gelding had been impressing on the gallops following a brief trip to Dubai earlier this year.
He said: “Defoe did some fast exercise this morning and did a very nice piece of work on the watered gallop. He will start off in the Coronation Cup next week.
“He ran a nice race in Meydan in the Dubai City Of Gold back in March when he was a good second, and it was a shame that Dubai World Cup night was called off because we had him in good form.
“But at least he has had a run this year and he is ready to go. There will be plenty of big races over a mile and a half to look forward to with him this year.”
The Varian team also have high hopes for the unbeaten Pierre Lapin this term.
The three-year-old colt, who is a half-brother to former top sprinter Harry Angel, preserved his 100% record with an impressive victory in the Mill Reef Stakes in September.
He is the 5-1 jolly with Paddy Power for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, and he is likely to head straight there without a prep.
Atzeni continued: “We are really looking forward to getting him back on the track.
“He is a horse who showed a lot of a ability as a two-year-old and he was impressive when he won the the Mill Reef.
“He is in full work at the moment and if all goes to plan he will go straight to the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot.
“He ran well fresh last season so it would be the plan to go their fresh again.”
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