Dee Ex Bee expected to be suited by demands of the Curragh

Mark Johnston relishing Irish Derby bid with Epsom runner-up

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Mark Johnston expects Dee Ex Bee to be suited by the Curragh when he takes his chance in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

The Middleham trainer has added the Epsom Derby runner-up to the field at a cost of 100,000 euro at the supplementary stage, and has high hopes the Farhh colt can go one better on Saturday.

“We had a bumper run in May and it’s carried forward into June. The horses are flying high at the moment, so let’s hope it continues until Saturday and beyond,” said Johnston.

“He’s absolutely fine since Epsom, no issues at all. It’s always a nervous time when you are making a significant supplementary entry.

“Epsom was certainly not a surprise, but realistically if someone had said before the race that you could finish in the first three then I’d probably have settled for that.

“Coming into the final furlong I thought he might finish fourth, so we were delighted with second place. He’s a really big horse and physically he should enjoy the Curragh a lot more.”

Charlie Appleby has also supplemented Old Persian following his victory in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Newmarket trainer is not unduly concerned the race might come too quickly after his latest success.

“We are very happy with the way Old Persian came out of the race last week and the signs are all very positive,” said Appleby.

“An eight-day turnaround at that level is always a concern, but you can’t fault the way he’s come out of Ascot.

“He’s eaten up and exercised well. He bounces back from his runs very quickly, and we are confident we can come to the Curragh at the weekend with a horse that is going to be very competitive.

“William Buick will ride.”

Saxon Warrior will head Aidan O’Brien’s team as the 2000 Guineas hero bids to redeem his reputation after losing his 100 per cent record when only fourth to the Appleby-trained Masar at Epsom.

“We are very happy with Saxon Warrior, and everything has gone smoothly since Epsom,” said O’Brien.

“The Pentagon could also run and some of the Ascot horses like Delano Roosevelt may run as well, but we haven’t really decided yet.

“We will give the ones that ran there as much time as we can before deciding.”

He added: “Ryan (Moore) will ride Saxon Warrior, and I think the plan is that Donnacha (O’Brien) will be riding Latrobe for Joseph (O’Brien).”

Michael Halford is looking forward to running Platinum Warrior, who received a free entry for the race after winning the Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh in May.

“Platinum Warrior is really well. He’s a Galileo colt who is improving with racing. He’s getting stronger and tougher with each run and is on an upward curve,” said the County Kildare trainer.

“Shane (Foley) thought he travelled really well through the race the last day and just idled a bit.

“Usually when they are idling a bit at that stage of a race it means there is a bit more in the locker, but I don’t think he will get much chance to idle at the weekend.

“Shane will ride again.”

Dee Ex Bee expected to be suited by demands of the Curragh
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