Roger Varian happy to split big-race aces Barsanti and Defoe

Newmarket handler yet to decide on targets for classy pair

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Barsanti is likely to step back up in grade on his next start following his successful reappearance at Ascot on Saturday.

Roger Varian’s charge was placed in each of his three outings in 2017, most notably going down by just half a length to Idaho in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last June.

He was back in Listed class in Saturday’s Buckhounds Stakes and justified odds-on favouritism with a gritty display.

Varian said: “He is a lovely horse and ran great last year without winning. I thought his run against Idaho in the Hardwicke was a great run and he didn’t get much luck off the home bend that day.

“He will improve for for his run on Saturday but he toughed it out well.

“He is not getting any younger (six) and this is his year to win some big races if he has got them in him. He is in the Coronation Cup and the Hardwicke and we will see how he comes out of it.”

Barsanti is one of a couple of high-class middle-distance performers Varian trains for owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, the other being last weekend’s Jockey Club Stakes hero Defoe.

The Newmarket-based trainer does not expect to have any trouble splitting his pair of aces during the remainder of the campaign.

He went on: “I think they will dovetail well. Barsanti loves fast ground, while Defoe can handle good ground, as he showed at Newmarket, but he’d be happy if there is a bit of give. Barsanti would not want soft ground.”

Asked whether Defoe could return to Group One level in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on May 27, Varian said: “I’m not sure. He’s in great form but we’ll confirm plans in the next week to 10 days.”

Roger Varian happy to split big-race aces Barsanti and Defoe
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