Native Trail brings up historic treble with G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas victory
Native Trail completed a momentous Classic hat-trick for Godolphin colts this season with a resolute display in the G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday, 21 May.
The royal blue silks had already been carried to victory by Coroebus in the G1 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and by Modern Games in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the French 2,000 Guineas, at Longchamp.
Native Trail, who had filled the runner-up spot behind Coroebus at Newmarket, soon disputed fourth on the inside of Ivy League as Malex set the pace for the nine-strong field.
Last year’s Champion two-year-old briefly looked set to be denied a clear run as the pace quickened but was angled off the rail by William Buick when a gap presented itself two and a half furlongs out.
Native Trail bore down on the leaders, taking up the running approaching the final furlong before finding plenty under pressure for a comfortable length and three-quarter success over New Energy.
It was a remarkable result for Charlie Appleby, who became only the second trainer to win the English, French and Irish 2,000 Guineas in the same season, and the first to achieve the feat with three different colts.
Charlie Appleby said: “It’s fantastic to make history for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and team Godolphin. The team at Moulton Paddocks have done such a fantastic job – they are long winters with the two-year-olds and Native Trail has never missed a beat.
“We have been very fortunate to be coming into these G1 races with fancied horses. Of course there is a certain amount of excitement and nerves, but it was a sigh of relief when Native Trail crossed the line today.
“William [Buick] has ridden Native Trail in all his starts and rides him so much at home, he knows the horse inside out. I was confident with where William was because he knows the horse so well.
“Native Trail was in a bit of a pocket but I was confident coming into the race that he was the class horse and he had the strength. He is a big, imposing horse and it was a nice race to watch – I wasn’t anxious throughout.
“Everyone wants to see the Champion two-year-old hopefully fulfil their three-year-old careers and that is what Native Trail has done. He lost nothing in defeat in the English Guineas – Coroebus was a horse that we thought of highly – and we will never know if it would have been a closer contest if they had been drawn next to each other.
“It’s nice to have conversations where, instead of trying to find one to win a race, you are trying to potentially keep them apart. Modern Games will head to the Prix du Jockey Club and Coroebus was always going to go to the St James’s Palace Stakes.
“Now Native Trail will have to come into the Royal Ascot conversation as well over the next 10 days or two weeks. We all know that the St James’s Palace Stakes is a fantastic race and it’s the last chance for the three-year-olds to compete against each other over a mile.
“Native Trail has a racing head that gives himself a chance of getting 10 furlongs. He is doing nothing wrong over a mile at the moment but going through the line is always the strongest part of his race. More importantly, I think we need a conversation over whether we let him and Coroebus take each other on in the St James’s Palace Stakes first.”
William Buick said: “Native Trail is an exceptional horse and a real joy to ride. He’s uncomplicated, he’s there for you when you need him, and he really deserved to win a Guineas after going down narrowly at Newmarket.
“I knew from a fair way out that I would be having to work my way out a little bit but I had the horse to do it. He has plenty of size and scope. We got a nice seam towards the outside and got running in time, so it was actually very straightforward.
“You might have seen a more explosive performance on faster ground because Native Trail has a good turn of foot and the slower ground possibly just blunted him a little bit.
“He will get a mile and a quarter, although I guess the team will go back home and assess the situation. I suppose we will see where the other horses are going but Native Trail is definitely a mile and a quarter candidate.
“It’s amazing to win all three Guineas with three different horses, it’s unbelievable. Credit to Charlie and his whole team, and to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. It’s great to be part of it.”