Native Trail triumphed in the battle of the unbeaten
two-year-olds to hand trainer Charlie Appleby a Longines Irish Champions
Weekend winner in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, writes Jack
The Godolphin colt was up against both Point Lonsdale and the talented Hugo Palmer runner Ebro River, but stayed on powerfully to take a comfortable victory by three-and-a-half lengths.
Native Trail is the son of former European Champion Sprinter Oasis Dream and he followed up July’s Superlative Stakes success at Newmarket against top quality opposition.
Appleby, 46, said: “He is an interesting horse to be around. I took him to Newmarket a few weeks ago, and if you asked me then would he be winning the National Stakes, I might have sat on the fence slightly.
“But full credit to the team. We definitely felt the horse would come forward for that gallop. William said to me after: ‘he was so green’ when going down to the start.
“But I knew the one thing this horse was going to do was gallop out strong.
“I think this is a great race, it is a Group One, it is a great race to be involved in, and it’s a great weekend to be involved in more importantly. To have a National Stakes winner is very satisfying.”
Billed as a clash of the much-anticipated top two in next year’s 2000 Guineas, it was Native Trail, not pre-race favourite Point Lonsdale, who showed his class at the Curragh.
The seven-strong field were bunched together for much of the contest until the final furlong and a half.
Ebro River, a winner on this track only a month ago and this time ridden by James Doyle, at one stage held the lead but faded inside the final furlong.
Jockey William Buick had to give a nudge to push the eventual winner into contention, but he responded magnificently.
For Appleby and Buick it was the second instalment of a glorious weekend of big race winners, with the two having combined with Hurricane Lane to win the prestigious St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.