Not since Red Bloom came up trumps in the Fillies’ Mile back in 2003 has Sir Michael Stoute had a Group 1-winning two-year-old under his care.
But in Expert Eye, the experienced trainer boasts a juvenile that looks primed and ready to end the 14-year drought during Saturday’s Darley Dewhurst Stakes at the Rowley Mile.
The son of Acclamation is unbeaten in two career starts, having followed his maiden Newbury victory with an eye-catching four-and-a-half-length triumph in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
The latter was a race that Stoute always expected Expert Eye to win, but the manner in which he did so has prompted the 10-time Champion trainer to brand him the ‘best two-year-old that I have had for quite a while’.
“Before we ran him we knew that he was pretty smart as he has always shown speed and been very athletic,” said Stoute, whose one and only previous Dewhurst success came back in 1986 with Adjal.
“And then, when we were preparing him for Goodwood, we began to realise just how good he was.
“We knew that he would win there but you can never be sure about the opposition and we didn’t know that he would win in the style that he did.
“I have had precocious two-year-olds in the past but I do not seem to get them nowadays. It’s an imbalance I don’t desire but it’s a fact.”
“Now this fellow has come along and I am very happy to have him.
“He’s naturally precocious, very well-balanced, well developed and mature.”
“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.”
Should Expert Eye justify his odds-on favouritism, Stoute will go past the £3,754,450 of British prize money he won in 2003 to register a new personal best for annual earnings.