Native Trail can cement a classic season that so far could hardly have been better for Charlie Appleby with victory in the Tattersalls-sponsored Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.
The Oasis Dream colt was a heavy favorite to hand the Moulton Paddocks manager a maiden victory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, but was eclipsed by stablemate Coroebus.
Last weekend, Appleby added the French equivalent to his resume, with the Breeders’ Cup Modern Games hero dominating the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at ParisLongchamp.
After being beaten just three-quarter lengths by Coroebus on the Rowley Mile three weeks ago, Native Trail will have prohibitive odds of claiming classic glory on the second attempt under William Buick and Appleby couldn’t be happier with its state.
“Everyone is very excited, the horse looks fantastic. He had his last little job (Wednesday morning), William (Buick) sat on it and he looked great,” he said. on the Godolphin website.
“We were delighted with how he came out of the 2000 Guineas and how his preparation went. Obviously a repeat of his run at Newmarket will make him the one to beat.
“What fantastic performances we’ve seen in the English and French Guineas now, so there’s a lot of excitement heading into the weekend.
“If we can top it off with the Irish Guineas as well, that would be a fantastic achievement for the whole team here at Moulton Paddocks and for Godolphin.”
The biggest threat to Native Trail appears to be the Buckaroo trained by Joseph O’Brien.
The son of Fastnet Rock was hit by Derby contender Piz Badile in the Ballysax at Leopardstown before successfully returning a mile into the Tetrarch Stakes at this course and distance.
O’Brien said: “Buckaroo was very good last time out in the Tetrarch Stakes over the same course and distance as the Guineas at the Curragh.
“He did well in this race and we’re looking forward to the weekend.”
Jim Bolger, who won the Irish 2,000 Guineas last year with Mac Swiney, is represented by Wexford Native, who finished second to Buckaroo last time out.
Aidan O’Brien has already won the first Irish Classic of the year a record 11 times and is building on the completed Ivy League, second in a group three last time out, to make a dozen.
“We were delighted with him at Leopardstown last time out, moving into Group 3 company with an 84 handicap win,” jockey Ryan Moore told Betfair.
“The winner took the lead but I was very encouraged by the way my horse finished his race. He will go further, and he is still in the Derby, but I think you will see him take a another big advance here.
“Of course, that might not be enough to get close to Native Trail, or even Buckaroo, but let’s see.”
Native Trail is one of two British-trained contenders with Andrew Balding’s Imperial Fighter, who was last seen finishing third in the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle.
Atomic Jones (Ger Lyons), Duke De Sessa (Dermot Weld), Malex (Michael O’Callaghan) and New Energy (Sheila Lavery) complete the set.