Expert Eye seeks more riches on first foray north in City of York Stakes
Sky Bet City of York Stakes (Group 3) | 7f | 3yo+ | ITV/RUK
Expert Eye drops in grade and distance at York on Saturday. However, it's not the superior prize-money that has brought him north for the first time but the uncertain weather forecast at Goodwood.
The Group 2 Ladbrokes Celebration Mile looked a natural fit for the Sussex Stakes runner-up, but the Group 3 City of York is not only on paper an easier target, it is worth £55,000 more than the Goodwood contest.
That has not, however, been a deciding factor in the decision to revert to a seven-furlong trip, at which Expert Eye has produced his two best performances, in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and last year's Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
Teddy Grimthorpe, owner Khalid Abdullah's racing manager, said: "It was a combination of everything really. The main reason was the uncertain weather forecast at Goodwood, where they didn't just know whether there was going to be a deluge or a sprinkling of rain. In the end we've gone with the safer option.
"He came back well from the Sussex Stakes. We've no qualms about a mile but he's suited by seven furlongs.
"We have to look at the major Group 1s that follow on, like the Prix du Moulin and Foret all being well after this."
Youth over experience
The last three runnings of the race have gone to three-year-olds, like Expert Eye, whose most dangerous opponents concede many years, including ten-year-old Gordon Lord Byron, who won this in 2012.
He would become the oldest horse to win the race if he could roll back the years, with Quito in 2006 being the only horse aged over five to land the contest.
Trainer David O'Meara said: "The form of Suedois' second at Goodwood has already been franked by Sir Dancealot and he's in great form.
"Expert Eye looks the one to beat but Suedois should go well, as should So Beloved, who continues to knock on the door in these races. He's very consistent and likes York."
What the say
Andrew Balding, trainer of Donjuan Triumphant
It was a really good run in the Lennox and I'd hope he'd go well so long as the ground isn't too quick. He's got alright form on good to firm, but any rain would be to his advantage.
Richard Hannon trainer of Tabarrak
This is his trip and he’s had a little break since running well at Newmarket behind Sir Dancealot, who has won since, so the form has a strong look to it. He likes fast ground and has been in great form at home. I expect a bold show.
Charlie Hills, trainer of Nebo
He's been off since the 2,000 Guineas but there's been nothing wrong with him and he's another we've just bided our time with. I hope there's still more to come, and he ran a good race first time out in the Free Handicap, after his solid juvenile season. I think six or seven furlongs is his trip – he certainly doesn't get a mile.
Read The Briefing from 8.30am daily on racingpost.com with all the day's latest going, weather, market moves and non-runner news