Dante date for Johnston Derby hope Mildenberger

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Mildenberger

Mildenberger is set to test his Derby credentials in the Betfred Dante Stakes at York on May 17.

Mark Johnston’s colt made a successful start to his three-year-old campaign in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket in mid-April.

The son of Teofilo does not hold an entry in the Investec Derby at Epsom next month, but connections do have the option of supplementing him at a cost of £85,000, should he prove his worth on the Knavesmire.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “He won well at Newmarket. He really stuck his head down and galloped out to the line and the first two were six lengths clear of the third.

“The way he finished off that race he looks like he is crying out for a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half in time. If he can go to the Dante and run well then we can dream of going to Epsom in June.”

The Middleham-based trainer won last year’s Dante with the ill-fated Permian before supplementing him for the premier Classic.

Johnston jnr added: “Through the winter I did say on a few occasions when people were around the yard if we were going to have another Permian this would be the horse. I loved him at two and he was a very nice horse at that stage, but we always knew whatever he did last year he was going to better this year as he is a huge, big, scopey horse. We always hoped he might be able to follow in Permian’s footsteps to some degree.”

Dee Ex Bee wins at Goodwood
Dee Ex Bee: Still could make the Investec Derby

The team have not yet given up hope of Dee Ex Bee earning a shot at Derby glory.

The Farhh colt could only finish third when a hot favourite for Blue Riband Trial at Epsom last week.

Johnston said: “I’m sure if we could have our time again we would ride the race at Epsom differently. James (Doyle) said he was slowly away and that meant he was a lot further back than you would have liked.

“He has got an entry in the Newmarket Stakes on Saturday, but the likelihood is, I would say at this stage, is that he will go for the Chester Vase or to Lingfield for the Derby Trial. He is really looking already that he wants a mile and a half. In the back of our mind we are half-thinking of the Queen’s Vase and the St Leger. In the short term, he will be campaigned with the hope of getting him to Epsom.”

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