Champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa, who gave Mark Johnston’s Dee Ex Been such a fine ride in claiming second in the Investec Derby earlier this month, will again partner the Yorkshire-based colt in Saturday’s Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh (5.15).
The Farrh colt rallied in the gamest possible fashion to chase home the impressive Masar at Epsom four weeks ago and has reportedly done well since the race. He was supplemented into the Irish Derby earlier this week, but with Godolphin also supplementing last week’s Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes winner Old Persian, the opportunity for de Sousa to maintain his partnership with Johnston’s horse has unexpectedly arisen.
“William Buick was going to ride him, but with Charlie Appleby declaring [Old Persian] we have switched back to Silvestre, the same jockey as in the Derby, so it couldn’t be better,” explained Johnston. “Everything has been great since Epsom – perfect. Any rain would have suited us but, at the same time, we don’t think he needs it, so we’re happy to go.”
Dee Ex Bee, who runs in the pale grey colours of Sheikh Mohammed’s son Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, is 4/1 second-favourite with Bet365 to win the €1,500,000 at the main expense of the Aidan O’Brien-trained Qipco 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior (4/6 with 188Bet), who finished two lengths further back in fourth at Epsom and still has to conclusively prove he stays a mile-and-a-half at this heady level.
O’Brien, who has won the Irish Derby 11 times in the last 20 years and triumphed twelve months ago with Capri, has also declared Delano Roosevelt, The Pentagon, and Rostropovich as he bids to hold the English challenge at bay. As well as Dee Ex Bee and the other supplemented horse Old Persian (12/1 with Ladbrokes), and the Lingfield Derby Trial winner Knight To Behold (22/1 with William Hill), trained by Harry Dunlop but not at his best in the Derby when only length behind Masar, make up a strong challenge for the British contingent.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.