Stoute still eyeing 2,000 Guineas bid with Expert Eye

Sir Michael Stoute is not ruling out a Qipco 2,000 Guineas bid with his top two-year-old Expert Eye despite the colt's odds-on reverse in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last October.

The son of Acclamation, who was as short as 4-1 market leader for the Newmarket Classic before finishing last of nine behind US Navy Flag on the Rowley Mile, has enjoyed a good winter at Freemason Lodge and was out cantering on the Al Bahathri Polytrack yesterday.

Speaking at a Discover Newmarket Media Day on Tuesday, Stoute said: "Expert Eye was out cantering this morning but hasn't done any strong work yet and he'll tell us if he's ready for the 2,000 Guineas or not.

"We've always rated him but he played around a lot at the start which cost him in the Dewhurst. It's only February so it's early days but he's in good shape."

Before his disappointing show at Newmarket, Expert Eye had looked out of the top drawer when slamming Zaman by four and a half lengths in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood in August, form that was franked when the fifth placed Sea Henge won the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster the following month.

Sent off at 4-7 to follow up in the Dewhurst, Expert Eye was fractious in the stalls and ran free before weakening from the Bushes. He was subsequently pushed out to 10-1 for the Guineas.

Stoute also had news of his challenge for Saturday's Group 3 Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield. He said: "We plan to run both Autocratic and last year's winner Convey at this stage."