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“Second sucks” said trainer Mark Johnstonfqqzwqazsf in the moments after Dee Ex Bee finished a length and a half runner-up to Masar in the Investec Derby. Nobody could blame him, but it was still a mighty effort from the colt under Stobart Champion Jockey Silvestre De Sousa.
Sent off at 20/1 at Epsom, it is safe to say Dee Ex Bee was omitted from several shortlists but there was no fluke about his effort and the way he stuck to his task had connections dreaming of going one better in another Classic, the William Hill St Leger, later in the year.
“I thought with one and a half furlongs to go that he’s run a great race and we’re going to be in the first four,” Johnston said after his initial comment about his placing. “I think there was only a very brief moment I thought we might get back up and win.
“Franny Norton, who [previously] rode him at Chester, said he’s not really an Epsom horse, he’s too big for this track and he did struggle. He rolled into one on the inside, he struggled a little on the track. It all bodes well for the future.”
Dee Ex Bee had previously finished a half-length runner-up to Young Rascal in the Chester Vase, having been third in the Investec Blue Riband Trial at Epsom before that.
He went off at just 100-30 for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby but he was not at his best, fading to be five lengths seventh behind surprise winner Latrobe.
Johnston said afterwards that the quicker ground might not have been ideal.
He got closer to his Derby form when a keeping-on third in the Group 1 Grand de Paris but again looked in need of a stiffer test when runner-up to Cross Counter n the Qatar Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
Dee Ex Bee got that stiffer test in the William Hill St Leger but could only plug on to be a well-beaten fourth behind Kew Gardens. Perhaps his early-season exploits had left a mark.
This year, stepped up to two miles and beyond he has shown himself to be among the best stayers in training.
He was a decisive winner of the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot and then he followed up in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown.
And on his latest start he beat all bar Stradivarius in the Gold Cup – making the running and rallying once headed to go down by a length under Silvestre de Sous at 7/2.
He is a son of Farhh, winner of the Lockinge and QIPCO Champion Stakes in 2013, out of a dam who was an unraced sister to the top-class Dubai Millennium.
BCS Career statistics
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