THE chances are that Sir Michael Stoute would swap all he has achieved in racing for a day playing in the baggy maroon cap of his beloved West Indies cricket team.

The trainer is less the pyrotechnics of twenty20 and more the Test-match format which the Windies ruled for so long.

And, just as there have been signs of a cricketing recovery, Stoute is also relishing a resurgence for his yard – with Ulysses winning both the Eclipse and International Stakes this year – and he runs Expert Eye as the hot favourite for the Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow.

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At first sight Stoute appears too restless a spirit to have the patience for the task of training racehorses. Standing on the gallops at Newmarket he shuffles from one patch of ground to another, as if seeking some invisible vantage point from which to gain a deeper insight to the thoroughbred.

Ten trainers’ championships and a haul of the game’s glittering prizes bear testimony to a career during which he has been there, won that and got a wardrobe of T-shirts to prove it. But at half-seven on an autumn morning it calls for several covering layers over the T-shirt and some might ponder how Stoute can still retain his enthusiasm at 71.

The sight of Expert Eyes stretching his athletic frame is all the inducement that he needs. “He’s naturally precocious, very well-balanced, well-developed and mature,” Stoute said. “You’d have to say that he’s the best two-year-old that I’ve had for quite a while.”

Expert Eye is unbeaten in two starts, having followed an easy Newbury maiden victory in June by winning the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood in August by four and a half lengths.

Stoute often plays little more than a straight bat to the media in post-race interviews so words like “exciting” and “promising” were duly noted along with the entry for the Dewhurst because he has won the race only once before, with Ajdal in 1986, and in recent years has tended to eschew the major juvenile races.

All of which lends more weight to Stoute’s decision to pitch Expert Eye in against the inevitable clutch of Aidan O’Brien runners headed by US Navy Flag, the winner of the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket a fortnight ago.

“In the past we never had to go up against a battalion like Aidan’s, it’s quite incredible really,”

Stoute said. “But I just get on with my job. If you can’t handle it, run away.

“I was contemplating going to The Curragh with him [for the National Stakes last month] but then we found a bit of an infection when we scoped him which knocked that plan out of the way. It wasn’t so irritating, however, as I wouldn’t have wanted to run him on very bad ground in Ireland anyway.

“Before we ran him we knew that he was pretty smart as he’s always shown speed and been very athletic. And then, when we were preparing him for Goodwood, we began to realise just how good he was – we knew that he would win there but you can never be sure about the opposition and we didn’t know that he would win in the style that he did.

“The form has worked out but this is quite a while later. We’ve had plenty of time to prepare him for this so there’ll be no excuses.”

Instead, Stoute will be taking guard and ready for whatever O’Brien and others have to bowl at him.