On The Trail Again


Champion Native Trail returns at Newmarket on Wednesday | Racingfotos.com

Charlie Appleby has two strong hands to play in the upcoming 2000 Guineas and one of them, the European champion juvenile Native Trail (GB) (Oasis Dream (GB), enjoys a surprise if welcome prep in Wednesday's G3 bet365 Craven S. at Newmarket. It's the age-old question, can the one who was at the apex the previous year maintain his dominion after the winter sojourn? It is necessary to go back to the mid-nineties and the likes of Alhaarth (Ire) (Unfuwain) and Xaar (GB) (Zafonic) to recall reigning champions taking in this trial en route to the first Classic and Godolphin's chief sophomore provides the race with a shot in the arm. There is nothing in his trainer's recent emissions to suggest that he has any concerns about the G1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S. and G1 Dewhurst S. hero, with this being more of a wake-up call than anything else.

“We are very confident at the moment and the team is in good form,” he said. “He has wintered very well and we have been pleased with his preparation, so we don't have any negatives going into this. It's only two and a half weeks until the 2000 Guineas, so we feel he is not going to need the run in the Craven, but it will help click his racing brain back into gear. It's of more benefit mentally rather than physically.”


TDN Rising Stars Assembling

   Taking on Native Trail are two TDN Rising Stars in Star of India (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Al Mubhir (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who represent Ballydoyle and William Haggas respectively. The former took the eye when scoring on debut over seven furlongs at Leopardstown in October, while Al Mubhir beat a clutch of subsequent winners in a maiden over that trip on this course earlier that month.

Tom Marquand takes the mount on Al Mubhir and said, “He is a beautiful model, but he has done well for having that break. It is a stiff task second time out to try and win a Craven, but there is a reason he is in there and that is because William likes him and the team likes him. Our lad will be learning on the job a little bit and hopefully we will learn a bit more about him at the same time and what will be will be with Native Trail.”


A River Runs Through It

   In the six-furlong G3 Connaught Access Flooring Abernant S., Al Shaqab Racing's Ebro River (Ire) (Galileo Gold {GB}) is the main player following his success in the G1 Phoenix S. at The Curragh in August. With no stand-out older sprinter in attendance, Hugo Palmer's stable star will be a warm order to get his campaign off to a flyer.

“We've decided to put a line through trying to make him stay, but I'm just really looking forward to running him at Newmarket. It wouldn't surprise me if we ended up going back to five for the King's Stand if he's good enough.”

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