Riding legend Frankie Dettori, who partners Harry Dunlop’s Knight To Behold in today’s Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh (5.15), is puzzled as to why Aidan O’Brien’s Saxon Warrior is odds-on favourite.
Dettori, whose only win in the race came way back in 1994 on the outstanding filly Balanchine, feels that the Mark Johnston-trained Investec Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee has stronger credentials for the Irish Classic than Saxon Warrior (pictured above), fourth at Epsom having previously looked brilliant when landing the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket four weeks earlier on the Rowley Mile.
“I don’t understand why Dee Ex Bee is not favourite for the race as he’s the one I fear the most,” the Italian-born star told reporters. “He’s proved at Epsom that he stays and he’s already beaten Saxon Warrior so I can’t believe how the bookmakers have priced it up. It doesn’t make sense to me.
“The Epsom form usually stands the test of time and I would really be more worried about Dee Ex Bee than the favourite Saxon Warrior as I think he has it all to prove again after the Derby. Nevertheless, Saxon Warrior is a 2,000 Guineas winner, but to me, Dee Ex Bee is a proven stayer and the race may suit him better.”
Saxon Warrior has drifted since Thursday from around 4/7 to a top price of 4/5 with William Hill, Dee Ex Bee, who was supplemented for the race by his owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, is in to a general offer of 7/2, although Ladbrokes still offer 4/1.
Dettori was booked earlier this week to partner Knight To Behold, a top priced 20/1 with Bet365. The son of Sea The Stars was an impressive all-the way winner of the listed Lingfield Derby Trial, beating subsequent Group 2 Queen’s Vase winner Kew Gardens, but he ran too freely in the Derby at Epsom and eventually trailed home 33 lengths behind Masar, in 11th place.
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.