Favourite Defoe survived a brief scare to win the Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday for trainer Roger Varian.
The four-year-old has now won six of his last seven races, with the only exception being a below-par showing in the St Leger last September.
However, at one stage of Saturday?s race the grey colt had looked in trouble, particularly when Red Verdon made a bold bid for the rail and pulled three to four lengths clear.
Lesser horses may have crumbled after falling behind but thanks to the expertise of jockey Andrea Atzeni, Defoe was able to pull through and secure the victory in a race he was only supplemented into on Monday.
Atzeni was impressed by Defoe’s showing and believes there may be no limits to the horse’s potential.
“I could see James on the far rail, but I’d already made a plan to follow Oisin (Murphy, on Count Octave) and I couldn’t switch,” Atzeni said.
“He did well to win, at one point when James grabbed the rail I thought ‘we need a good horse here to pick him up’, but when he hit the rising ground he galloped out nicely.
“We don’t know how good this fellow is, he keeps improving and could be anything.”