Three decades on from his only previous success in the race, Sir Michael Stoute is heading into the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket with real hopes of a second victory.
His unbeaten colt Expert Eye is the 4/6 favourite for the Group 1 contest and Stoute has labelled the son of Acclamation a “precocious talent”.
The legendary handler saddled Ajdal to win the leading juvenile contest all the way back in 1986 and he feels his latest contender is the real deal.
Winner of a Newbury maiden on debut in June, Expert Eye took a big step forward next time out when easily winning the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
The form of that race has been boosted since, with third-placed Mildenberger winning a Listed race, while the fourth-home James Garfield and fifth Seahenge have recorded their own Group 2 successes.
“We knew he’d win at Goodwood as his prep before that was pretty smart, but not quite as easily as he did,” said Stoute.
“After that we contemplated going to the National Stakes at the Curragh, but after a routine scope we discovered he had an infection, so we decided to concentrate on the Dewhurst. He’s in good shape.”
Expert Eye is already the clear favourite at 7/2 to win the 2,000 Guineas back at Newmarket next spring and his trainer has held the colt in the highest regard from the moment he laid eyes on him.
“We’ve had precocious two-year-olds in the past, such as Russian Rhythm and Ajdal, but we don’t seem to get them nowadays, which gives us an imbalance we don’t desire,” the trainer added.
“This fellow is naturally precocious and has been professional from day one. Before he ran we knew he was pretty smart, and he’s a good-looking, athletic horse.
“He couldn’t have done it any easier at Goodwood. You never know what was in the race at the time, but the form has worked out.”
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