Dee Ex Bee sets up Gold Cup tilt with all-the-way Sandown success

Thu 23 May 2019

Watch how Dee Ex Bee and Flippa The Strippa were among the stars at Sandown on Thursday evening.

Dee Ex Bee confirmed he will be a major player in the Ascot Gold Cup after enhancing his position as the rising star of the staying division in the 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 Group Three 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.

De Sousa reflects on a good night's work at Sandown

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 Ascot Gold Cup and if we are going to do that he needed another run.”

Flippa The Strippa shows off her pace at Sandown

Flippa The Strippa can also look forward to an outing at the Royal meeting following a surprise success in the 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 Listed 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.

Hills reflects on the win of Flippa The Strippa - plus why she is so named

“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.”

How did she get her name? Hills evealed to Racing TV that her connections were keen on Pippa The Strippa but, as his wife is called Pippa, he persuaded a slight alteration.

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