The Curragh, Ireland: Sadly for trainer Mark Johnston, he will have to wait for another year to find out if he can with a maiden Derby on the flat, after his much-fancied Dee Ex Bee could only finish seventh in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Group) on a sweltering afternoon at The Curragh in Ireland.
An eye-catching runner-up to Godolphin’s Masar in the Epsom Derby (G1) earlier this month, Dee Ex Bee, always seemed to be ill at ease on the fast track and never quite got into the Ero 1.5 million contest run over a testing mile and half.
In contrast, local hope Latrobe, ridden by 19-year-old Donnacha O’Brien, seemed to relish the quick ground to prise out a heart-stopping ½ length victory over Rostropovich with odds-on favourite.
Saxon Warrior, the English 2,000 Guineas (G1) winner ridden by Ryan Moore, stayed on for third.
The winner, a 14/1 chance, was ridden by 19-year-old Donnacha O’Brien for his Irish Derby winning brother, Joseph, who only took out a trainer’s license only two years ago.
The second two home were trained by their father, and 12 time Irish Derby-winning handler, Aidan O’Brien.
Johnston, looked deflated and blamed Dee Ex Bee’s poor performamnce, on the track.
“He looked to be in all sorts of trouble a long way out,” the Middleham trainer told Gulf News. “I can only image the ground was too fast for him. Once he hit the rising ground approaching the finish he was running on again, but it was all too late.”
Dee Ex Bee aced in the colours of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
While Johnston was left to ponder another missed opportunity, Donnach O’Brien’s star continued to rise after winning his third Classic of the season followingSaxon Warrior at Newmarket and Forever Together in the Epsom Oaks.
"It's pretty incredible and it's not really sinking in yet. It's a special moment,” said the 19-year-old.
"We've always thought he was a really good horse and he's never run a bad race, but we just thought a few times that he'd run better.
"He's shown today that he's very good."
Old Persian, looking to complete a Derby double for in-form Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby who trained Masar to a historic victory at Epsom this year, was sixth in the 12 runner contest.
Earlier in the afternoon, William Buick rode a confident race aboard the Mick Halford-trained Petticoat, to post a comfortable victory in the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises Summer Fillies Handicap.
The winner crossed the line 2 1/3 lengths clear of Aidan O’Brien’s Most Gifted, the mount of Ryan Moore.
A four-year-old daughter of Cape Cross, Petticoat showed remarkable improvement having been well-beaten on her handicap debut behind stable companion Saltonstall.
Buick commented: “Michael was very hopeful. She did it well.”
Halford said he was very pleased to saddle a winner for Godolphin during the prestigious Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby festival.
Meanwhile , Ryan Moore bagged a hat-trick of wins for Irish great Aidan O’Brien, on a day when racegoers soaked up the glorious summer sun and equally hot action on the track.
Often referred to as ‘the world’s best jockey’, Moore showed just why he is held in such high regard with a masterly riding performance aboard Book of Jericho in the Rockingham, a Premier Handicap.
The horse who name comes from the Christian Old Testament, was bouncing back to winning form following a lukewarm performance at Royal Ascot two weeks ago.
Well-beaten to 11th place in the King’s stand Stakes over a similar distance, the son of War Front looked a different proposition altogether when showing plenty of fight to deny the battle-hardened Caspian Prince by a short head.
Raced by Michael Appleby Caspian Prince has been a regular visitor to the Dubai World Cup Carnival and even recorded a smart victory at Meydan Racecourse back in 2015.
Commenting on Book of Joshua’s reveasal of Ascot form O’Brien said: “He’s a fast horse, and Ryan said you couldn’t get there late enough with him.
On a day of close finishes, Jessica Harrington, one of the most established dual-purpose trainers in Ireland , grabbed the opportunity to snatch a big prize in the Listed Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Celebration Stakes with I’m So Fancy.
The winner was given a consummate ride by Irish Derby-winning jockey Colm O’Donoghue, who had been a principal player in Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle operation for almost two decades, to score by ½ length from Allegio.