DEE Ex Bee confirmed he will be a major player in the Gold Cup after enhancing his position as the rising star of the staying division in the Group 3 Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes at Sandown.
The Mark Johnston-trained son of Farhh may not be the flashiest horse in training, but he is effective at getting the job done, as he demonstrated in backing up his victory in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in the two-mile prize.
Dictating matters from the outset, the 4/7 favourite kicked from the front when set to be challenged by his stablemate Austrian School and Mekong, before defeating the latter by a length and three-quarters, to complete a quick double for Silvestre de Sousa.
He's tough! Dee Ex Bee remains unbeaten this season in the @TeamMatchbook Henry II Stakes for @Johnston_Racing and @SilvDSousa at @Sandownpark— Racing TV (@RacingTV) May 23, 2019
Results ? https://t.co/glajGV55GR pic.twitter.com/FR5NjBZ4g1
Johnston’s charge was cut to 7/1 by Betway for Ascot, and the Middleham trainer said: “I think he is a bit lazy and we probably saw that last time as well.
“William Buick said exactly the same and Silvestre said every time he came away from Austrian School he dropped the bit and he would have to take him back there to get racing again.
“Both Charlie (Johnston) and I said we wanted to see Austrian School go up there and take him on and make it more of a test of stamina, but then in the straight when he attempted to he couldn’t get there.
“It looked slow to me early on, but I was surprised Making Miracles was not able to go the pace and Austrian School was unable to get up there and go at Dee Ex Bee.
“I think the extra half-mile (of the Gold Cup) will be nothing but positive.
“We had some reservations coming here in a five-runner race from the point of view of the horse’s rating and reputation, in that he had not a lot to gain, but everything to lose.
“The aim is to win the Gold Cup and if we are going to do that he needed another run.”
Flippa The Strippa secures a second consecutive victory after taking the Listed Matchbook Betting Podcast National Stakes with plenty to spare under @SilvDSousa, for @cbhills ???? pic.twitter.com/Q0I1Zx0xWl— Sandown Park (@Sandownpark) May 23, 2019
Flippa The Strippa can also look forward to an outing at the Royal meeting following a surprise success in the Listed National Stakes.
Sent off at 16/1, the De Sousa-ridden daughter of Outstrip backed up her recent victory at Chepstow when showing plenty of speed to capture the five-furlong prize.
Taking it up around a furlong from home, the Charlie Hills-trained two-year-old – despite hanging late on – had enough in hand to see off Jm Jackson by a length and a quarter, earning a 20/1 quote for the Queen Mary with Paddy Power.
Hills said: “We will have to look at Ascot now. She showed a really good turn of foot there. The race was probably a little bit run to suit her.
“There was plenty of pace on and she got a nice tow into it. She was still a little green when she hit the front, but she put the race to bed well.
“I’m sure she will get six furlongs in time. I’d think Queen Mary more so than the Albany at this stage.”