Call On The Expert

It has been 31 years since Ajdal provided Sir Michael Stoute with his one and only renewal of the G1 Darley Dewhurst S. at Newmarket, but the long wait could be over on Saturday with Freemason Lodge responsible for the red-hot Expert Eye (GB) (Acclamation {GB}). Khalid Abdullah’s unbeaten homebred had three subsequent black-type winners behind him when taking the G2 Vintage S. by 4 1/2 lengths over this trip at Glorious Goodwood at the start of August, with a bad scope denying him the chance to take in the G1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National S. at The Curragh last month. “He’s a very well-balanced horse and very well developed and mature.” Stoute explained. “It was a very good performance at Goodwood and the form has worked out well. This race is quite a while later, but he seems in good form. You would have to say he’s the best 2-year-old I have had for quite a while. He’s been pretty natural from the beginning.”

Aidan O’Brien has won four of these and has a quartet to represent the formidable might of his stable this time headed by the Sept. 30 G1 Middle Park S. hero U S Navy Flag (War Front). He bids to become the first since Diesis (GB) in 1982 to complete the Middle Park-Dewhurst double and holds his G2 July S. conqueror Cardsharp (GB) (Lonhro {Aus}) on the most recent form. Ryan Moore has sided with him over the Sept. 16 G2 Champagne S. winner Seahenge (Scat Daddy), while the $3-million purchase Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy), who was last of seven in that Doncaster contest and the Sept. 20 Fairyhouse maiden scorer Threeandfourpence (War Front), make up the fearsome foursome.

“US Navy Flag is in good form. He’s going up to seven furlongs for the first time, but when we stepped his sister [Roly Poly] up she improved,” the Ballydoyle trainer said. “He hasn’t done much since the last day, but he seems to be in good form. We were delighted with Seahenge in Doncaster. He was still a bit babyish, but we were delighted with him and he’s been in good form since. Mendelssohn is a bit immature mentally and he’s inclined to have a look around, so that’s why we’ve put blinkers on him. He’s worn the blinkers at home and they seem to help him concentrate, so it will be interesting to see. He has been in good form. Threeandfourpence had a nice run first time at the Curragh and at Fairyhouse we knew the six furlongs would be plenty tight enough for him, but thought the experience would do him well. He seems in good form and Mrs Stockwell is happy to let him take his chance. He’s by War Front, so the better ground won’t be a disadvantage anyway.”

It is significant that John Gosden has opted to throw in the inexperienced ‘TDN Rising Star’ Emaraaty (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), Shadwell’s 2.6-million guineas purchase who cut a dash in his maiden over this trip at Newbury on Sept. 23. “It’s a jump up to a Group 1, but it’s at home and it’s on nice ground,” he explained. “His first run he got rather boxed in and then he won well next time out. He is very much a work in progress. He is a horse that is very genuine in everything that he does. He is very athletic. We will get a good idea of the level he is at on Saturday.”

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