Eye flop and Klimt injury leave Guineas market in confusion
A race designed to bring clarity to next year's Qipco 2,000 Guineas delivered only confusion in the markets as Expert Eye vacated the favourite's spot with a dismal run in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes.
A deserving 4-1 market leader on the evidence of a striking win at Glorious Goodwood he was out to 12-1 with Betfair after trailing in last behind US Navy Flag.
Instead it was US Navy Flag who stood at the top of some lists, if perhaps by default after Aidan O'Brien revealed Gustav Klimt had suffered a season-ending injury.
Expert Eye, was restless in the stalls and raced keenly for Andrea Atzeni. He kept on terms with the winner for five furlongs but then dropped tamely back through the field.
Atzeni said: "He jumped well but was a bit gassy and when I asked him he didn't pick up like he had at Goodwood. Perhaps it was just one of those days."
Sir Michael Stoute said: "It was just very disappointing. He was a little keen early on even so it was disappointing. That was not him."
Connections were left bemused by the performance, for which no explanation was apparent despite a brief suggestion the colt was lame on his right hind.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "They were a bit worried he might be slightly off. They trotted him up back in the yard and he trotted sound."
Of the performance, Grimthorpe added: "He was a bit keen. He settled but he was the first horse beaten. His breathing is normal. Obviously he'll be checked out. I don't think there's an obvious explanation for this. It's a great disappointment to us all – he was great going into the race in every way.
"He was very straightforward, had a good prep and good work. We were as excited as anyone but for some reason it wasn't going to be. He was fine in the pre-parade ring, in the paddock and going down."
US Navy Flag was a top priced 10-1 with Ladbrokes for the 2,000 Guineas, who kept Gustav Klimt at the head of their market on 6-1.
However, Gustav Klimt is 12-1 with Paddy Power and Betfair after O'Brien gave an update on the colt who has not run since winning the Group 2 Superlative Stakes in July.
"He was due to come here but he tore a little muscle," the trainer said. "It didn't come right in time, it was ten days and he still wasn't 100 per cent so we just decided to leave him.
"You won't see him here until next year – we'll train him for the 2,000 Guineas."
The race's other disappointment was Emaraaty, who was sent off 6-1 but only finished a place in front of Expert Eye.
His jockey Jim Crowley said: "Emaraaty has never been off the bridle before so it was all new to him. He's a next year horse."
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