3.10     The Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes (Class 1) (Group 3)      7 f

The Greenham Stakes, named after the parish in which Newbury Racecourse is situated, was run for the first time in 1906. Initially contested over 1 mile, the race was not run between 1941 and 1948 and on its resumption in 1949 the distance was dropped to 7 furlongs and 60 yards, and has been run over its current distance of 7 furlongs since 1956.

The Greenham Stakes is a recognised trial for the 2,000 Guineas as it is contested by three year old colts and geldings. Only four horses have ever done the Greenham Stakes and 2,000 Guineas double: Minoru in 1909, Orwell in 1932, Wollow in 1976 and the amazing Frankel in 2011.

Some very fine horses have won the Greenham over the years including Mill Reef in 1971, Kris in 1979 and Danehill Dancer in 1996. The now sadly departed Sir Henry Cecil won the race six times. Perhaps rather fittingly Frankel was the last horse he saddled to win the event. Richard Hannon Sr also won the race six times between 1990 and 2013.

Looking at the race over the last 12 years the betting has been a major indicator of the likely winner with 10 out of the 12 winners being sent off in the top three in the betting. Six of the twelve were returned at the race favourite.

Look at horses who are making their seasonal debut in the race as 10 of the last 12 winners had not run for over 168 days, with six of the 12 winning on their last start. Course experience at Newbury has been useful recently with eight of the 12 winners having run previously at the course (four of them winning). Running over the race distance of 7 furlongs has also been an important pointer as nine winners had run over the distance of which five had won.

An Official Rating in treble figures is important as apart from last year’s winner, Barney Roy who has a rating of 91, nine of the last twelve winners have been rated 106 or higher – Frankel was rated 123.

Finally, wins in Group races as a two year old are a good pointer with seven of the last 12 winners winning previously at Group 1, 2 or 3 level.

One horse stands out on the statistics. Expert Eye will go off as the short priced favourite. His last run was 189 days ago and he won at Newbury on his debut over 6½ furlongs. His Official Rating is an extremely credible 117 and his second run at Glorious Goodwood saw him winning the Group 2 Vintage Stakes over 7 furlongs. His third and final run last season saw him finish last in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes. However, he was found to be lame after the race.

Expert Eye who is trained by Sir Michael Stoute (pictured top) renews his partnership with Ryan Moore who rode him on his debut win at Newbury. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “Ryan works very closely with Michael and the horse. This is a very important race for Expert Eye, as we need to get him back on track, so therefore the best man for that job is Ryan.

“After Newbury we’ll hopefully have a good idea what we should be doing and the obvious hope is we can get him to the Guineas. He certainly has enough talent to justify going there. It’s just a question of getting everything in order.”

At a bigger price James Garfield who won the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury over 6f furlongs on his penultimate start last season could be the one to pick up the pieces if Expert Eye fails to live up to his lofty expectations. He has an Official Rating of 112 and his trainer George Scott said about his chances in the race: “He’s wintered fantastically well and hasn’t missed a day, although I also haven’t asked too many questions of him yet or looked under the bonnet. We’ve already seen we come up short when Expert Eye is at his best but if there are any chinks in the favourite I think we’ll be on the premises.”

Both horses have entries in the 2,000 Guineas.

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