Communique led from pillar to post when causing a minor upset in the Roaring Lion Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket.
Although a previous winner over the course and distance, Mark Johnston’s charge had finished well-beaten on his return to action at Newbury and looked to have plenty on his plate – with John Gosden’s high-class filly Coronet and Roger Varian’s defending champion Defoe among his six rivals.
However, the 12-1 shot set only a moderate pace in front and three-times champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa had kept a bit up his sleeve as he raised the tempo racing inside the final quarter-mile.
Last year’s winner Defoe finished with a flourish, but Communique never looked in any real danger of being caught and passed the post a length and a quarter to the good.
Johnston also saddled the third home Mildenberger, with 5-4 favourite Coronet ultimately a shade disappointing in fourth.
“He clearly wasn’t going too fast in front, but they have given him six lengths. He has managed to get a little breather in and kick again and they’ve all had that ground to make up,” said Johnston.
“I thought Mildenberger looked like he was coming, but he got caught out again by the turn of foot of Communique. He has stayed on reasonably so I’m happy with him as well. I think both are great horses to go to war with.
“Communique was not here as a pacemaker, he was here on merit and won it on merit.”
Asked about a tilt at the Coronation Cup at Epsom, the trainer added: “We would certainly be looking at it.
“I did the entries for Royal Ascot the other day and I’m pretty sure he is in the Hardwicke Stakes.”
Roger Varian was pleased with Defoe’s effort in defeat (Joe Giddens/PA)
Varian will consider stepping Defoe up in trip at some point in the future following his staying-on effort.
He said: “I thought he ran a good race. A better early gallop might have suited him and helped him peg the winner back.
“I think on paper it was a stronger renewal of the race than he won last year. He hasn’t won, but he has run a fine race.
“I’d like to step him up in trip at some point. It’s probably a bit soon to run him back in the Yorkshire Cup. He has got mile and a half options, but at some point in there we will try him over further.”