Sir Michael Stoute sets sights on Dewhurst glory with Expert Eye

Tue 10 Oct 2017

By Racinguk.com staff

Sir Michael Stoute believes red-hot Darley Dewhurst Stakes favourite Expert Eye is one of the most "naturally precocious" juveniles he has trained for quite some time.

The Khalid Abdullah-owned Acclamation colt heads to Newmarket on Saturday with a towering reputation after he won the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood by four and a half lengths.

Expert Eye had been in contention to run in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September, but he suffered a setback and will instead step into top-class company in the Dewhurst.

Stoute said: "He seems in good shape.

"I contemplated going to the Curragh but he had a bit of an issue when we scoped him.

"That knocked that out of the way so we trained him for the Dewhurst.

"We've had precocious two-year-olds, but we don't seem to get them nowadays.

"This fellow just came along and was naturally precocious.

"You would have to say that he’s the best two-year-old that I have had for quite a while. He’s been pretty natural from the beginning."

Stoute claimed his only Dewhurst triumph with Ajdal in 1986, but Expert Eye is an odds-on shot for this season's renewal and is already ante-post favourite for the 2000 Guineas next year.

Sir Michael Stoute - Expert Eye - Dewhurst

And even before he won on debut at Newbury in June, Stoute knew he was in possession of a fine thoroughbred.

The Newmarket handler said: "Before he ran we knew he was pretty smart as he was showing plenty of speed.

2017 Qatar Goodwood Festival - Day One - Goodwood Racecourse Expert Eye will attempt to hand Sir Michael Stoute his first Dewhurst win since Ajdal in 1986 (PA)

"He's a good-looking horse and is very athletic, but he's better looking now that he's won a Group race – and that's a fact of life!

"As a trainer, I'm entitled to run him in it (Dewhurst) and train him for it.

"We've had plenty of time to prepare him for this and there are no excuses on that front."

Expert Eye was put through his paces at a media event on Tuesday morning when he cantered behind a stablemate on the Al Bahathri Polytrack gallop in Newmarket.

Just as he had been at Goodwood, Stoute's two-year-old will be ridden in the Dewhurst by Andrea Atzeni.

Listen to Newmarket Clerk of the Course Michael Prosser

Aidan O'Brien still has seven runners entered in the Group One contest as he seeks a third straight success in the race and a 24th Group One win of the season.

Champagne Stakes winner Seahenge leads the line, while Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere heroine Happily is also in the mix.

They could be joined by Middle Park one-two US Navy Flag and Fleet Review, while Coat Of Arms and Mendelssohn give the Ballydoyle handler a significant numerical advantage were he to run them all.

“The Darley Dewhurst looks a tough race," he added. "In the past we never had to go up against a battalion like Aidan’s [O’Brien’s], it’s quite incredible really.”

“Let’s just see what happens on Saturday, when Andrea Atzeni will again be riding him, but I would be surprised if he gets beyond a mile as a three-year-old.”

Paddy Power - Expert Eye spcials:

2-1 Expert Eye to win the Dewhurst Stakes by 2.5 lengths or more

5-1 Expert Eye to win the Dewhurst Stakes and the 2000 Guineas

8-1 Expert Eye To Win the Dewhurst Stakes, the 2000 Guineas & St James Palace Stakes

16-1 Expert Eye to be unbeaten in 2018 (Must Run At Least Three Times That Season)

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