Native Trail extended his unbeaten record to four races and confirmed his status as the winter favourite for the 2,000 Guineas with a convincing success in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, surging into the lead a furlong out and staying on strongly to beat Dubawi Legend by two lengths.
There was a euphoric yell of delight from William Buick, Native Trail’s rider, as Charlie Appleby’s colt crossed the line and he had been cut to about 7-2 for the Guineas by the time he had been pulled up.
Coroebus, a winner for Appleby and Buick in the Group Three Autumn Stakes earlier on the card, is the second-favourite for the Classic at around 6-1 and the only other runner at single-figure odds.
“It was a messy race, I expected it to be,” Buick told ITV Racing. “We ended up coming over to the [soportes] rail, and wherever I asked him to go, he went. He hit the rising ground well as well, and he’s deservedly the champion two-year-old.
“He could be anything, he’s a real man, a big horse already, he does it all. He minds himself at home and saves it for the afternoon.”
The victory moved Buick to within six winners of Oisin Murphy in the race for the Flat jockeys’ championship, which concludes on Champions Day at Ascot next Saturday, and also edged Charlie Appleby, Native Trail’s trainer, into a narrow lead over Andrew Balding in the trainers’ championship.
More to follow