Posts

Native Trail demolishes National Stakes field

Native Trail rocketed to 2000 Guineas favouritism as he maintained his unbeaten record with a brilliant victory in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, giving trainer Charlie Appleby a third win in the Curragh showpiece.

Previously successful in the Group One contest with Quorto (2019) and the brilliant Pinatubo (2020), the Moulton Paddocks handler – on the mark 24 hours earlier with Hurricane Lane in the St Leger at Doncaster – sent another high-class juvenile across the Irish Sea in search of top-level honours.

A son of Oasis Dream, the Superlative Stakes winner faced a far from straightforward task, with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Point Lonsdale the 8-13 favourite to make it five from five, and Hugo Palmer’s Ebro River bidding to follow up success in last month’s Phoenix Stakes.

William Buick had to nudge Native Trail (7-2) into contention with a couple of furlongs to run – but he really found top gear late on.

Point Lonsdale did his best to make a race of it, but Appleby’s ace was three and a half lengths clear of the odds-on shot at the line, with Ebro River close up in third.

Paddy Power make Native Trail their 5-1 favourite (from 10-1) for next year’s Guineas, with Coral and Ladbrokes both 4-1.

Appleby said: “This is a route we’ve taken with Pinatubo and Quorto before him – and it was always our plan immediately after the Superlative to come here with this horse.

“People ask ‘why don’t you look at the Champagne Stakes’ (at Doncaster), but I didn’t feel carrying a penalty there on softer conditions was potentially going to suit him.

“I think this is a great race and an indicator to the Dewhurst. It’s a Group One and a great weekend to be involved in.

“To have another winner of the National Stakes is very satisfying.”

Native Trail in full flight
Native Trail in full flight (Brian Lawless/PA)

He added: “He’s an interesting horse to be around. I took him to Newmarket a couple of weeks ago and if you’d asked me there if we’d have been winning a National Stakes, I might have been sat on the fence slightly.

“Full credit to the team at home. We definitely felt the horse had come forward for that gallop and we changed a bit of equipment on him today.

“William said he’s still so green and it felt like he was going down to the start on a maiden.

“He gave him a shove early doors to get up the revs, but I knew with two furlongs to go the one thing this horse was going to do was gallop out strong.

“I’d say we’ll go straight to the Dewhurst. I don’t know if he’s quite got the head for a Breeders’ Cup yet.”

Superlative result for Appleby with Native Trail

Native Trail remained unbeaten to provide trainer Charlie Appleby with his second successive victory in Newmarket’s bet365 Superlative Stakes.

Appleby struck in the same juvenile Group Two last year with subsequent 2000 Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas.

William Buick, the winning rider on both occasions, challenged late up the centre of the track on Native Trail – who had made a successful start to his career on his only previous start in a Sandown maiden last month.

The 11-4 shot then held on by a short head from fast-finishing runner-up Masekela – with favourite Dhabab, who had gone clear up the far side in the final furlong, hauled back to finish another length and a half behind in third.

Appleby said: “He’s a lovely horse to ride through a race as he goes through his gears smoothly. He showed that on his first start at Sandown and we saw the same today.

“I wouldn’t say I was confident we’d be winning, but the way the race was developing, I knew he’d be doing it all the right way round and would be hitting the line strong.

“He’s a breeze-up consigned horse, so he’d have had a bit of experience put to him early doors. But you wouldn’t know that, to be fair – he’s a very laid-back character.

“It was a good achievement winning today, but I do feel that when we step him up in trip, we’ll hopefully see a bit more improvement again.”

Quorto (2018) and Master Of The Seas (2020) went on to contest the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh on their next start.

When asked whether Native Trail would follow the same route, Appleby added “It’s a well-trodden path for myself – I like to go and have a crack at it over there (in Ireland).

“I think the ground would suit him. My only concern coming into today was the quick ground. He’s by Oasis Dream and they usually prefer a fast surface, but he’s a big unit and has got some big feet on him, so a little bit of ease in the ground wouldn’t do him any harm.

“We’ll look towards the National Stakes and then potentially on to the Vertem Futurity Trophy or the Lagardere.”