Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 17 March 2018

Exciting Expert has 'Eye' on Curragh bid

Trainer Michael Stoute Photo: Getty
Trainer Michael Stoute Photo: Getty

Johnny Ward

Arguably the most exciting juvenile yet to run this term and now the ante-post Qipco 2,000 Guineas favourite, Expert Eye could make his Irish debut in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes at the Curragh.

The Group One nowadays takes place on Irish Champions Weekend and that, along with the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, are under consideration for the Michael Stoute-trained son of Acclamation.

He shot to the head of the betting for next year's colts' Classic at Newmarket with a hugely impressive success in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last week, before which reports of his homework were glowing.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "It was a very good performance and the form of his Newbury maiden has worked out well as he had the Richmond winner (Barraquero) behind him that day and that gives us encouragement.

"It is not Sir Michael's way to do too much too soon and it has worked out. The National Stakes and the Champagne are still both under consideration.

"I doubt he will get much further than a mile, but I think that will emerge to be the right distance for him given the way he won on Tuesday."

Grimthorpe added that Enable remains on course to try for a fourth top-level success of the season in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York later this month.

Two of our own leading juveniles are set to clash in the Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday. Gordon Elliott's unbeaten Beckford is poised to take on Aidan O'Brien's Norfolk Stakes winner Sioux Nation as 12 horses stood their ground at the latest confirmation stage.

Another horse likely bound for Irish Champions Weekend is Wuheida, which Charlie Appleby will drop back down in trip for the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes on September 9.

Meanwhile, the British Horseracing Authority has announced changes to the novice chase programme, in effect from October 1.

A trial which will exempt horses finishing in close proximity to higher-rated winners in weight-for-age novice chases from having their ratings raised in all but the top races is part of the changes.

A new £100,000 novice handicap chase final in the spring will also take place as the BHA attempts to improve field sizes.

Irish Independent

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