Stoute feels Ex­pert Eye can end drought

Trainer rates two-yearold colt his best for years Cooper named as Potts’ No1 jockey in Bri­tain

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Racing - By Mar­cus Army­tage

For a man who has been at the top of his pro­fes­sion for most of his 45 years as a trainer it may come as a sur­prise to know that Sir Michael Stoute’s last Group One two-yearold win­ner was Red Bloom in the 2003 Fil­lies Mile, long be­fore it was moved from As­cot to New­mar­ket.

Since then Stoute has not ex­actly been quiet; he has won two Der­bys, a St Leger, a Prix de L’arc de Tri­om­phe, a Gold Cup, two King Ge­orges, two Eclipses, two In­ter­na­tion­als, two Cana­dian In­ter­na­tion­als and a hat­ful of Breed­ers’ Cups races, mak­ing him, by some mar­gin, the most suc­cess­ful Bri­tish trainer at Amer­ica’s end-of-sea­son fi­nale.

“A typ­i­cal Stoute im­prover” is mod­ern rac­ing par­lance for a cer­tain type of horse, such as Har­bin­ger, Ulysses and Cham­pion Stakes hope­ful Poet’s Word, with which he ex­cels.

But the man whose trade­mark virtue is pa­tience sad­dles Ex­pert Eye, the 4/6 favourite, in Satur­day’s Dar­ley De­whurst Stakes, the piece de re­sis­tance of New­mar­ket’s Dubai Fu­ture Cham­pi­ons Fes­ti­val. The only time he won the race was with bril­liant sprinter Ad­jal 31 years ago.

Ex­pert Eye, a Khalid Ab­dul­lah home­bred, looked the best ju­ve­nile colt seen this sea­son by some mar­gin when he won Good­wood’s Vin- tage Stakes by 4½ lengths. That im­pres­sion has been borne out by the fourth, James Garfield, win­ning the Mill Reef and the fifth, Sea­henge, land­ing the Cham­pagne Stakes.

“I’ve been train­ing a long time,” said Stoute, hav­ing watched Ex­pert Eye breeze up New­mar­ket’s Al Ba­hathri gal­lop. “We had pre­co­cious two-year-olds but we don’t seem to get so many now. It’s an im­bal­ance I don’t de­sire, but it’s a fact.”

Stoute had a good idea that Ex­pert Eye was pretty smart be­fore his New­bury de­but. “He was show­ing plenty of speed at home,” he ex­plained. “He’s very ath­letic and good look­ing. And he’s even bet­ter look­ing now he’s won a Group race!

“He’s well bal­anced, a well-de­vel­oped ma­ture horse. The best twoyear-old I’ve had for a while. It was a very good per­for­mance at Good­wood. We knew he’d win at Good­wood, we just didn’t think he’d win quite like he did. He’s en­ti­tled to run in the De­whurst and he’s been trained for it. ”

Al­though Ex­pert Eye is al­ready favourite for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, the trainer re­fused to look be­yond Satur­day other than point out that he would be sur­prised if the colt got much fur­ther than a mile. “That [not want­ing to look be­yond the next race] is just me – plus a great deal of ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

With seven Breed­ers’ Cups, he is hop­ing Ulysses will add to the col­lec­tion next month in Del Mar, where the quick ground will suit his ac­tion bet­ter than the soft he en­coun­tered in his last two at­tempts at a mile and a half. A de­ci­sion has yet to be made on Queen’s Trust de­fend­ing her Fil­lies’ and Mares’ Turf ti­tle with the race short­ened to nine fur­longs this year.

In jump­ing news Bryan Cooper, re­cently sacked as first jockey to Gig­gin­stown Stud, has been re­tained to ride the Bri­tish run­ners of Gold Cup win­ning owner Alan Potts, the ma­jor­ity of which are trained by Colin Tiz­zard. Rob­bie Power will con­tinue to ride his Ir­ish horses.

Star qual­ity: Ex­pert Eye is odds-on to be­come trainer Sir Michael’s Stoute’s first Group One two-year-old win­ner since 2003

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