Goodwood runner-up Expert Eye headlines City of York Stakes

Big French races on the agenda

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Sussex Stakes runner-up Expert Eye goes to York on Saturday in search of compensation rather than return to Goodwood.

The prospect of quicker ground on the Knavesmire has persuaded connections of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Jersey Stakes winner to run in the Sky Bet City Of York Stakes, rather than the Ladbrokes Celebration Mile.

“There was an uncertain forecast at Goodwood, they weren’t sure how much rain they were going to get, so we felt he was more sure of better ground at York,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.

“He must have fast ground, we think, so he runs here instead.

“He ran very well at Goodwood, I thought. A faster pace would have suited him there, but he stayed on and proved that he’s on his way back.

“I think he’s probably as effective over a mile as seven furlongs and we’ll be looking at race like the Prix du Moulin and the Prix de la Foret if all goes well.”

David O’Meara is double-handed with Suedois and So Beloved, who were both in action at Glorious Goodwood.

Suedois was just touched off by Sir Dancealot in the Lennox Stakes, while So Beloved was well-beaten that day but turned up the following afternoon to finish sixth in the Sussex.

“Suedois ran well at Goodwood. He got beat by Sir Dancealot, who’s gone on to win the Newbury race (Hungerford Stakes) with a penalty,” said O’Meara.

“Expert Eye obviously could be hard to beat, but he’s in good form.”

He added: “So Beloved is very consistent. He’s always there or thereabouts in these races and I’m sure he will be again.”

Gordon Lord Byron won this race in 2012, four years before it was upgraded from a Listed race to a Group Three.

His trainer Tom Hogan reports the 10-year-old to be raring to go again after taking second place behind Speak In Colours at the Curragh earlier this month.

“He’s come on since his last run and he’s in great form,” said Hogan.

“We’d be hopeful of a good run and getting some place money.

“Hopefully the rain stays away and it’s decent, good to firm ground, which he likes very much these days.

“We’re going to have a go.”

Tabarrak, trained by Richard Hannon, has been aimed at this race since running creditably in two Group Three races in June, but his team did not expect Expert Eye to be in the line-up.

“Poor old Tabarrak, we’d missed a few engagements to wait for this and then he comes up against a horse like Expert Eye,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

“That caught us out a bit, but somebody has to take him on. You won’t catch us saying we think we will beat him, though.

“He’s fantastically tough and brave, but he faces a tough task.”

Above The Rest lifted the Group Three Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle after winning a handicap over this course and distance.

Trainer David Barron is just hoping the in-form seven-year-old can get in the money.

“He owes us absolutely nothing and has been brilliant this season,” he said.

“It will be very tough indeed with a penalty, but we had nowhere else to take him, really.

“It’s good prize-money and hopefully he can pick some of it up.”

Andrew Balding would be keener on the chance of Donjuan Triumphant if rain fell before race time.

The five-year-old showed his turn was near when only beaten half a length in fourth behind Sir Dancealot in the Lennox.

“His Lennox run was a smashing run. He is a better horse with cut in the ground,” said Balding.

“He has got bits of form on quicker ground, but any rain would help him. Trip-wise he is effective over both six and seven furlongs.”

Goodwood runner-up Expert Eye headlines City of York Stakes
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