Dee Ex Bee to Show Class in Gold Cup Prep Run

When Magic Circle was pulled out of this race yesterday, it left us with just five runners which is disappointing. With one big outsider in Fearsome, we have just four that we need to strongly look at. Three out of those four runners are trained by Mark Johnston, with just the Michael Stoute trained Mekong going against them. This looks to be a race that Johnston can dominate, I think he will, and it will be his new staying star Dee Ex Bee that comes out on top, before a tilt at the Ascot Gold Cup next month.

His three runners have all enjoyed success this season, but at different levels. Austrian School and Making Miracles have both landed big handicaps, with the latter named winning the Chester Cup on his most recent start to show his quality. However, those two have only been winning handicaps while Dee Ex Bee comes here on the back of an impressive win in a Group Three at this course on his only start of the season so far. It looked on that day as though this horse would find further improvement this season due to the step up in trip, and I am expecting to see that confirmed here when he takes on the Stoute horse and his fellow stable stars.

Mekong is the only runner in the field that hasn’t had a run this season, although that shouldn’t put you off him if you like his chances. The Stoute yard is in very good form at the moment, and he generally gives his horses more time than most to get ready for the first run, so seeing one of his on the track for the first time this season is not unusual at all.

He slowly moved up both in quality of races and trip last season, starting off at 1m2f before ending his campaign in a couple of 1m6f races. He looks worth a try at this distance and I think we can expect to see more from him this year. Stoute loves his horses to improve as they get older, and he always leaves something in the tank for them at five and six. Therefore, this four year old should certainly be a better horse this time around than what we saw from him last season. Add onto that the potential to improve further because of the step up to two miles, and this is a horse that could end up being a really nice stayer both this season and beyond.

However, having said all of that, it is going to take a big step forward from him to come here and trouble Dee Ex Bee. I think all three challengers to Dee Ex Bee are going to show up well here, but they all lack the potential to be Group One performers, something that I think Dee Ex Bee is.

Of the trio of Johnston runners, this one is clearly the strongest of them all, despite the other two showing good handicap form, and I am backing Dee Ex Bee to take this and show that he deserves a shot at the Gold Cup next month at Royal Ascot.