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Native Trail passes G3 Craven test with flying colours


Native Trail enjoyed the perfect warm-up for the 2,000 Guineas as he won the G3 Craven Stakes with the minimum of fuss at Newmarket, UK, on Wednesday, 13 April.

Last season’s Champion juvenile, stepping up to a mile for the first time on his seasonal return for Charlie Appleby, soon found cover behind the leaders as Star Of India led the field of six three-year-old colts.

The unbeaten dual G1 winner started to make good headway as the race began in earnest entering the final quarter-mile and quickened through the field to take up the running passing the furlong-pole. Native Trail hit top gear on the rising ground, lengthening away from his rivals for a convincing success under William Buick.

Charlie Appleby said: “I was delighted with the way Native Trail looked in the paddock and how he had prepped into the race, but I’m more encouraged now he has that first run under his belt.

“He has a lovely running style and races the right way round. He is a big horse with a round action but is economical with it – he’s not keen and doesn’t try to over-race. William can park him wherever he wants and, more importantly, when he gives the signal to pick up, Native Trail responds.

“Native Trail was 2kg heavier today than the Dewhurst Stakes and I am a big believer in the old school of going into the Guineas round about the same weight as you were in the Dewhurst. There is not going to be lots of marked improvement for this but his racing brain has clicked into gear and we can look forward to the Guineas now.”

William Buick added: “It was quite an evenly run race for a small-field trial and Native Trail really hit the line well, which was pleasing to see. He was always a big horse and very mature as a two-year-old, and he might be a little bit bigger and stronger this year. There’s no question that he has done well from two to three.

“He had been pleasing everyone at home and what we saw there was in a similar fashion to his wins last year. Possibly, he knows a bit more now and how to race a bit better. Every time you ask him, he answers the call, and you can’t ask for anything more.”