Native Trail surges to Dewhurst Stakes victory and four races unbeaten

It felt like rather more than just another good day at the races for Charlie Appleby and William Buick, as trainer and jockey completed a double with Native Trail and Coroebus in the feature events on Future Champions Day which left the two colts dominant in the market for next year’s 2,000 Guineas.

Native Trail’s decisive two-length success in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes edged Appleby into a narrow lead over Andrew Balding in the race for the trainer’s title, while Buick, with three winners on the day in all, made further inroads into Oisin Murphy’s advantage in the Flat jockeys’ championship.

But there was more to it than just money or numbers. Aidan O’Brien has generally been at least one step ahead of the opposition in recent years but not one of his seven juvenile runners over the two-day Future Champions meeting managed even to reach the frame. It was quite a contrast with Appleby, who swept all three of the two-year-old Group races on the card and found himself fielding questions about whether Native Trail or Coroebus strikes him as the more likely to win a Classic.

“I think we have got a fantastic horse on our hands for next year’s 2,000 Guineas,” Appleby said after the Dewhurst. “On the back of Coroebus as well, we are in a very fortunate position, to be going into the winter with two fantastic colts.

“Once [Native Trail] met the rising ground there was one thing he wasn’t going to do and that was stop galloping. It was very similar to what we saw in the National Stakes [last month]; that acceleration once he is given the office is quite remarkable.”

Native Trail, inevitably, heads the Guineas market, as an unbeaten winner of the Dewhurst should, and he showed a very smart and effective turn of foot to sweep into the lead a furlong from home. He is also all but certain to be Europe’s champion juvenile colt when the ratings are published in January.

Native Trail towered over his opponents in the paddock, a physical advantage which is likely to diminish over time, and Coroebus’s burst of finishing speed to go clear in the Group Three Autumn Stakes was every bit as impressive. There is little to choose between them and even Appleby and Buick may be in different camps.

“I’ve never put them anywhere near each other at home,” Appleby said. “[Native Trail] is a harder horse to assess [but] Coroebus has been there from the get-go. He travels for fun and we could have run him in a maiden in May and he would have bolted up.

“Between myself and William, we do slightly differ. I do like Coroebus, he is a supreme traveller … but you cannot fault what this horse [Native Trail] has done.

“As three-year-olds, when something might have got stronger and the pace of the race gets quicker in races like the Classics, one thing you have got to do is travel and that is what Coroebus does in abundance.”

Murphy’s lead in the title race was down to just six winners, from 11 on Friday morning, after Native Trail’s success, but the reigning champion hit back with a success on Nicky Henderson’s Buzz in the Cesarewitch after a sustained duel with Buick, on Burning Victory, through the final quarter mile.

Murphy, who missed six booked rides on Friday’s card after a positive breath test for alcohol, now goes into the final week of the campaign as a warm favourite to retain his title.

“I shouldn’t be making mistakes like that yesterday,” he said. “It is great to get some confidence back but I should know better.”