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."
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. 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. 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.