Darley-bred grey Defoe was a progressive middle-distance colt in 2017, winning his first four starts – including the Listed Glasgow Stakes and Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes – in a manner that saw him sent off one of the favourites for the Group 1 William Hill St Leger on his final start.
He disappointed that day and was eased when beaten, but bounced back to form on his reappearance at Newbury this afternoon, beating Danehill Kodiac by two and a half lengths in the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (registered as the John Porter Stakes) over 12 furlongs.
Timeform-rated 119 as a three-year-old, the Roger Varian-trained colt has now won six of his nine starts and it is possible that his next start will be a return to Group 1 company in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in late May.
Defoe is by the Timeform 133-rated star and retired Gilltown Stud and Haras de Bonneval stallion Dalakhani (by Darshaan), the Arc and Prix du Jockey Club hero whose 52 stakes winners include nine who have won at the highest level.
He is the first foal out of 10-furlong Nottingham winner Dulkashe (by Pivotal), he has a two-year-old Shamardal (by Giant's Causeway) half-brother, and his dam is among eight winners from a dozen foals out of an unraced mare called Saik (by Riverman).
Saik's offspring also include the multiple listed-placed Irish filly miler Akira (by Acclamation), and as she is out of the unraced Close Comfort (by Far North), her own siblings feature Husyan (by Alleged) plus some fillies of note.
Husyan won the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes and Group 3 Scottish Classic, he was runner-up in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes, and he had some success as a National Hunt stallion, whereas his non-winning half-sister Badrah (by Private Account) is the dam of pattern-placed Irish juvenile stakes winner Desert Sky (by Green Desert) and grandam of US mile Grade 2 scorer No Jet Lag (by Johar).
Their stakes-placed half-sister Miss Waikiki (by Miswaki) is the third dam of the tragically ill-fated US sprinter Rock Fall (by Speightstown), who won the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes, Grade 1 Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap and Grade 2 True North Stakes in 2015, while dual winner Gazayil (by Irish River) did her part for the family by giving us Arc-placed multiple Group 2 scorer Mubtaker (by Silver Hawk).
The appearance of a top-class sprinter among those branches of the family is no surprise when you consider that the next dam is five-furlong ace Caterina (by Princely Gift) who, in addition to Close Comfort, was the dam of Group 1 Prix Morny heroine Ancient Regime and Group 2 Prix Maurice de Gheest scorer Cricket Ball, both by Olden Times (by Relic).
Caterina was runner-up in the Nunthorpe Stakes at two-year-old but won the race the following year, earning a Timeform rating of 124. Her dam Radiopye (by Bright News) won eight times and earned a peak Timeform rating of 108 as a six-year-old, and that sprinter's offspring also featured Group 1 Eclipse Stakes winner and Group 1 Irish Derby runner-up Scottish Rifle (by Sunny Way).
Defoe shows the family's middle-distance stamina rather than its speed and part of that is due to Dalakhani's influence. He is a talented colt who may still be improving and it would be no surprise to see him perform with credit in Group 1 company this year.