Expert Eye
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Expert Eye could bid to restore his reputation with an outing in a prep race ahead of a tilt at the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained son of Acclamation lost his unbeaten record when trailing home last in the Dewhurst Stakes on the Rowley Mile in October, having previously run out an impressive winner of the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood in August.

Connections will make a decision nearer the time whether to send the Khalid Abdullah-owned three-year-old straight to the first colts’ Classic, or give him a run beforehand.

Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: “If you saw his work before the Dewhurst, you wouldn’t have been going anywhere else with your money.

“You have got to put these things together on the day and he just didn’t do that.

“There were a number of little issues we had to get right. I hope we have addressed all the issues.

“He is wintering well and is in good form and the Guineas is very much on his schedule. The way he is, we are hopeful of getting him there in great shape.

“I think it is too early to tell if he needs a prep run. By the spring we will have a pretty good idea.

“Sir Michael has taken Guineas winners straight there and he has given some a prep run. I think it depends on how he progresses and how he is doing in the spring.”

While plans remain fluid for Expert Eye, the Roger Charlton-trained Herculean, who is also owned by Abdullah, is likely to have a run before a potential outing in the Guineas.

The son of Frankel has not been seen since making a winning debut at Ascot in September.

Grimthorpe added: “Roger has given him time, but he has furnished well over the winter. He is a big, striking horse. If he is going to be a Guineas horse, he is going to need to go to a prep race, but again it is not carved in stone.

“It was not ground that kept him from coming out again, he was still quite a raw horse that was not fully furnished.

“We just needed to give him time to strengthen up and the form of his Ascot race has worked out nicely. We know Expert Eye is of the right calibre, but Herculean has got more to prove.”