Expert Eye, the 2015 Gr1 Breeders Cup Champion Turf Mile winner, has been sold by Juddmonte to Paardeberg Stud in South Africa to serve as the cornerstone sire for the launch of their new stud venture.
Paardeberg Stud is a collaboration between British businessmen, Steve Ajax and Charles Palmer, along with renowned South African breeder Sally Bruss.
The new stud was created following the acquisition of 200 hectares of land in the well known Paarl region of Western Cape, 45 minutes from Cape Town.
Steve and Charles are most recognised in the racing world as the creators of the ground breaking and award winning Global Team Horse Racing. This innovative concept made its debut at the Hollywoodbets Greyville racetrack in 2022.
Steve, who has been actively involved in South African racing for over a decade, attributes much of his success to his partnership with the late Neil Bruss.
He emphasises that all of his sixteen victories during this period were achieved with horses bred by Sally Bruss during her tenure as the manager of Lammerskraal Stud.
According to Steve, “Since Sally’s departure from Lammerskraal, she has faced challenges in finding her footing. Notwithstanding these challenges, her unwavering passion for breeding racehorses has always been at the forefront of everything she does. Sally’s remarkable track record spans more than 25 years of consistently producing champion racehorses. Her expertise and dedication are unequivocal, positioning her alongside some of the world’s most renowned thoroughbred racehorse breeders.”
The Juddmonte bred and raced Expert Eye (Acclamation – Exemplify by Dansili) won 5 of his 10 starts at 2 and 3 years in the hands of Sir Michael Stoute and earned £1,416,000.
He was a high class 2-year-old, winning Goodwood’s Gr2 Vintage Stakes by 5 lengths, in a performance Timeform described as “arguably the most striking performance in a pattern race by a 2-year-old all year!”
After a sluggish start at three, Expert Eye sprung back to form with a dominant performance in Royal Ascot’s Jersey Stakes, spreadeagling a high class field and winning by the biggest margin this century.
He also won the City of York S. Gr2, was 2nd in the Sussex S. Gr1 and 3rd in the Prix du Moulin Gr1.
Expert Eye capped off his career with a scintillating performance in the Gr1 Breeders Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.
Held up off the pace he swooped fast and late under Frankie Dettori to win emphatically. Dettori later described him as “A proper racehorse!”
Retired to Juddmonte, Expert Eye’s first crop raced in England last year and yielded 22 individual 2-year-old winners to put him 4th in the Rankings of 1st Crop Sires.
His second crop in 2023, has already yielded 14 individual 2-year-old winners, including two very smart Stakes Winners: Snellen, who won the Royal Ascot Chesham S. over 7f., in June and Juniper Berries, who was 4th in Royal Ascot’s Queen Mary Stakes (Gr.2), before winning the £45,000 Dick Poole Fillies (Gr.3) over 6f.
Expert Eye has recently touched down in South Africa and is presently undergoing the mandatory quarantine process.
He will commence covering at Paardeberg Stud in 2024.
South African agent Robin Bruss, who negotiated the sale in collaboration with Felipe Lopes Bloodstock, expressed great optimism about Expert Eye’s reception in South Africa.
He commended Expert Eye as a stallion possessing exceptional looks and correctness, boasting remarkable speed at age 2, achieving world class status as a miler at 3 and establishing himself as a successful sire of precocious 2-year-olds that continue to excel as they mature.
He also noted that Expert Eye carries the esteemed Juddmonte tradition of meticulously selective breeding.
On the establishment of Paardeberg Stud, Co-Owner and Director Steve Ajax remarks, “South African racing has endured its share of challenges, from export/import complications and the Phumelela crash to the impact of the Covid pandemic. Nonetheless, there is a newfound optimism in the air, spearheaded by the fresh leadership at Cape Racing. Charles and I have made a deliberate choice to actively contribute to this resurgence. This commitment involves substantial investments in state of the art facilities, high quality broodmares and a top tier management team.”
Fellow Co-Owner and Director Charles Palmer added, “Paardeberg Stud represents an ambitious undertaking. It was imperative for us to secure a distinguished stallion as a testament to our dedication to the stud and the broader South African thoroughbred racing industry. We consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate to have acquired such an exceptional performer to serve as our standard bearer. We plan to make a limited number of shares available to breeders and make him accessible by standing him at a realistic fee.”