Dee Ex Bee ready for Gordon Stakes test

Silvestre De Sousa riding Dee Ex Bee wins the Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes at Goodwood
Image: Dee Ex Bee - road to St Leger continues at Goodwood

Dee Ex Bee is set to take what connections hope will be a positive step on the road to the St Leger in the Qatar Gordon Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday.

The Mark Johnston-trained colt was a fine second to Masar in the Derby, but things have not quite gone to plan since, finishing a disappointing seventh in the Irish Derby before performing better when third in the Grand Prix de Paris.

Next month's Leger at Doncaster is the ultimate aim for the Farhh colt, and while the trainer's son and assistant Charlie Johnston admits this Group Three was not initially on the schedule, the team are happy to take their chance, if the ground is suitable.

He said: "Plan A was to bring Mildenberger here for it, but sadly he has just missed a bit too much time since Ascot and we are not happy bringing him here at this stage.

"We made the entry for Dee Ex Bee on Monday morning, as there were only six in it at that stage, and it was one of those we felt too good to pass by really.

"We don't want to go to the well too often on fast ground this summer as we want to still have the horse in good form for his main target, the St Leger.

"It looks a good opportunity for him. He is 8lb clear on official ratings. We know he handles the track as he won here last year.

"We will walk the track on Saturday morning and as long as we are happy, he will take his chance."

He added: "After Paris it wouldn't have concerned me if we had gone straight to the Leger, but at the same time we made the entries in the Gordon and Voltigeur, as if they cut up they are races we would like to be in.

"We are glad we made the entry and are in, but at the same time we have in the back of our mind that we want the horse in the best possible order for Doncaster in September."

Dee Ex Bee is one of four runners in the mile-and-a-half heat, with Charlie Appleby's Cross Counter next best on official ratings.

Sir Michael Stoute will be bidding for an 11th victory in the race and he relies upon Ribblesdale third Sun Maiden, while James Fanshawe's Bombyx completes the line-up.

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