Expert Eye has the chance to redeem his reputation in the Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes at Newbury.
Few juveniles created quite the impression the Acclamation colt did in winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, but Sir Michael Stoute’s youngster failed to back that up in the Dewhurst next time out, finishing last of the nine runners.
As a result, he has questions to answer this weekend in regard to his claims at the very highest level.
“We had huge expectations going into the Dewhurst and there was no getting away from it, it was very disappointing,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.
“That having been said, I hope we’ve got on top of his issues. Sir Michael has worked hard and the horse himself is in very good shape.
“It’s an important race for him to get back on track, we know he has the talent – it’s a question of channelling that correctly.”
Andrea Atzeni was on board at Goodwood and Newmarket, but Stoute has gone back to his old ally Ryan Moore, who rode Expert Eye to win on debut at Newbury, even in the knowledge he is highly unlikely to be available in the Qipco 2000 Guineas on May 5.
“Ryan is riding, but come the Guineas he may be in a different country as it clashes with the Kentucky Derby. If he performs well I don’t think there will be a shortage of people wanting to ride him,” said Grimthorpe.
Harry Dunlop’s Fighting Irish showed a good level of form last season, signing off with a Group Two win in France.
“Fighting Irish is in really good form at home. He has wintered well, he has strengthened and he seems really well,” said Dunlop.
“He won well over six furlongs at Maisons-Lafitte in October and we are running him in the Greenham to see if he stays seven furlongs.
“The ground is not a real worry for him. He has won twice on soft ground and we wouldn’t worry about any type of ground with him – we’re looking forward to running.
“We’ll see how he runs on Saturday, but if he seems to stay the trip, we are thinking about races including the French and German Guineas with him, so we’ll see what happens.”
James Garfield was a breakthrough winner for George Scott in the Mill Reef last year and even ran at the Breeders’ Cup.
“This race has been the plan since the Breeders’ Cup and I’m very much looking forward to getting him started,” said Scott.
“He has form at the track, obviously, having broken the track record over six furlongs for two-year-olds when he won the Mill Reef.
“I’m very happy with my horse and this is a trial that will hopefully answer a lot of questions.”
James Tate’s Hey Gaman is another who proved himself Group-class last season, just being touched off in the Champagne Stakes.
“This has been his target since last year and it looks like we’re going to get some give in the ground, which he will appreciate,” said Tate.
“He’s flying at home. He weighs 560 kilos – he’s a huge horse – and I have little doubt that he’s improved from two to three. He obviously likes the track and the conditions should suit, so we’re expecting a big run.
“If you were looking for a negative I would say he’ll probably be better when he steps up to a mile and while he’s ready to run, this is trial and not the big day and I think he will improve.
“We feel he’s better on a flatter track, so we’ll probably be targeting either the French or Irish Guineas after Saturday.”