Andrea Atzeni expects more from Defoe in St Leger


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Andrea Atzeni feels Defoe can improve again when he runs in the St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.

Roger Varian’s colt has won all four starts this season and will be the only horse in the field not to have tasted defeat this term.

Atzeni meanwhile will be looking to win the world’s oldest Classic for the third time in four years, having scored on Kingston Hill (2014) and Simple Verse (2015).

The 26-year-old Italian-born rider has won no less than six Group One races at Doncaster since 2013 and has been amongst the winners already at this year’s Leger Festival.

Defoe won the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury last month, his first run in Group Three company.

While he’ll need to improve once again to land glory in the St Leger, Atzeni feels there is every reason to believe that he can do just that.

“He’s in great form, I’m looking forward to riding him,” said Atzeni.

“He needs to improve again, but I think he has. The ground should suit him, he stays well and we’d be very hopeful.”

“I have as good a chance as any in a competitive but open race. My horse is improving at the right time and still doesn’t know how good he is.”

Defoe is 5.50 to win the St Leger at Doncaster. Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Derby winner Capri can be backed at 5.00 for the final British Classic of the season while Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean is favourite at 4.50.

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