Dee Ex Bee will attempt to gain an elusive first Group One success when stepping back up in trip for next month’s Qatar Prix Du Cadran at ParisLongchamp.
Since claiming the second of two Group Three victories this season in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown in May, the Mark Johnston-trained four-year-old has finished second best behind the mighty Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and most recently in the Lonsdale Cup at York.
Last year’s Derby runner-up will head next to France on October 6 to try and go one better than his last three starts, and give Johnston his first victory in the two-and-a-half-mile contest.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “Dee Ex Bee will go for the Cadran on Arc weekend, and it has been the main aim for quite a while.
“It looks his best chance to win a Group One this season.
“The extra distance will be to his liking, and hopefully they will get some give in the ground.
“If we get some good to soft ground out there and Stradivarius doesn’t surprise us by turning up, then it should be tailor-made for him.
Plans had been in place to run Dee Ex Bee in the Doncaster Cup earlier this month, but several factors meant he was a late absentee from the Group Two event.
Johnston said: “It was a combination of the quick ground, and taking on Stradivarius on that ground three weeks before the Cadran.
“We didn’t want to see him leave his race there, because he has run into a brick wall trying to beat Stradivarius three times this season.”
While connections of Dee Ex Bee are keen to avoid Stradivarius on his next start, they are looking forward to serving it up to John Gosden’s star stayer again next season.
Johnston added: “He has been second in an Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup – and without Stradivarius, he would have won the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ £1million bonus.
“We are not going to try to run away from Stradivarius forever – we just want to try get his head in front this season at the highest level.
“We are looking forward to going back to Royal Ascot with him next year as a five-year-old.”