Champion trainer Charlie Appleby has revealed that two-year-old sensation Native Trail will take in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket ahead of a tilt at the 2000 Guineas.
The unbeaten two-year-old bagged two Group One races for the Appleby and Godolphin team, landing the National Stakes at The Curragh – following the same path as former star Pinatubo – before returning to win the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket over seven furlongs.
He currently sits as the 3/1 favorite for the 2000 Guineas, while his stablemate Coroebus is second-favorite in the market at 5/1.
Appleby also revealed the target for the Group Three winner, with a trial in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury the likely plan before also running in the first Classic of the season.
Coroebus lost his unbeaten record when narrowly beaten on the line by Royal Patronage in the Royal Lodge Stakes last season, but did take the Solario Stakes at Sandown on his final start of his two-year-old campaign.
However, one horse that could skip the Newmarket Classic in favor of trips to Ireland or France is Modern Games, who won at the Breeders’ Cup meeting in the Juvenile Turf at Del Mar in November.
“First and foremost, they’ve all wintered well and they will all take in a trial as we stand at the moment,” Appleby told Sky Sports Racing.
“Native Trail will head to Newmarket for the Craven and Coroebus will head to Newbury for the Greenham.
“Potentially, that leaves Modern Games to go to Newcastle for the trial up there. We will take those trials onboard first but in pencil, it’s likely we’ll run Native Trail and Coroebus there [in the 2000 Guineas].
“Whether we decide with Modern Games to take him to France or maybe to Ireland we’ll see but most importantly they’ve wintered well and we’ll put them in trials and work away from there.”
Trail ‘a man amongst boys’
Appleby said that as things stand, William Buick would be likely to take the ride on Native Trail in the Guineas, adding that Coroebus could be a horse that progresses throughout the season.
“Native Trail as we saw last year going unbeaten was a man amongst boys, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.
“If you ran him tomorrow you could not be any happier with him. He looks fantastic and he got that edge on the three-year-olds this year with the strength he has physically.
“With Coroebus, he’s got untapped potential – a typical Dubawi in that he’s just going to progress throughout the season.
“He’s got a lot of natural pace there and he shocked us all really when we ran him into the Royal Lodge.
“I turned around and thought job done but before we knew it we’d been nutted on the line so when we backed him up a few people raised eyebrows but I wanted to back him up on good ground.
“He could not have been anymore impressive in the Autumn Stakes. William [Buick] had to sit and wait to press the button and still went too soon!
“So he’s a horse that we’ve seen his talent but we think he’ll progress throughout the season.
“As long as one of them wins the Guineas, I’ll be happy.”
Games set for overseas trip
Modern Games was a remarkable winner of the Juvenile Turf last season at the Breeders’ Cup, having been pulled out of the stalls and then back in when stablemate Albahr was withdrawn.
That kind of professionalism is something that Appleby felt would stand the horse in good stead throughout the season, even if he might lack the gears to compete at the top level.
“You’d have a job to really fault him,” he said. “You saw it on Breeders’ Cup night. Mentally, his strength and professionalism is second to none.
“Would you pair him up with Coroebus or Native Trail on what we’ve seen? He’s probably a few lengths behind them but what you’ll always see is him going there and doing what it says on the tin.
“That’ll give him the edge over a lot of the horses out there.”
Watch the Dubai World Cup meeting and the Lincoln Handicap from Doncaster this Saturday, live on Sky Sports Racing.