The son of Oasis Dream was unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile, winning Group One races in the National Stakes and Dewhurst.
He made it five from five when scoring with ease in the Craven Stakes over course and distance on his first run as a three-year-old.
Godolphin’s number one jockey Buick heads to Headquarters in search of his fifth British Classic success. Should Native Trail succeed, it would give both himself and trainer Charlie Appleby a first triumph in the mile colts’ Classic.
Buick feels Native Trail, who is drawn widest of all in stall 15, has answered every bell, and said: “He has done nothing wrong. He has come through this year and produced in the Craven.
Key contenders for the Guineas
“He was always a nice horse physically and when he won first time out at Sandown, you knew you had a nice horse on your hands, but he took every step that was asked of him in his stride and everything you asked of him, he just keeps coming up with the goods.
“There is no point in looking back – he has to go and do it as a three-year-old.”
The 33-year-old has no qualms about the horse’s ability to handle the preliminaries and believes he is professional enough to take things in his stride on the big stage.
“He has a solid temperament,” added Buick. “He is a solid professional and loves his work. He is a horse who has plenty of confidence. He is very straightforward and very professional. On the track and at home, he just goes about his business.
“He has a long stride and a very high cruising speed. He also has a turn of foot, which he showed last year and in the Craven.”
Who will join the roll of honour?
However, stablemate Coroebus, who will be ridden by James Doyle, is second-favourite with most firms and rates a “big threat”, according to Buick.
“It is a deep race, as you’d expect. Everyone is going to turn up in good shape and you have to respect all the opposition really. Coroebus is a danger. He has plenty of talent and ability. You saw that last year.”
While Aidan O’Brien seeks a record-extending 11th success in the race, Appleby will seemingly not have a better chance to gain his first with two serious chances to break his duck.
Though he lost his unbeaten record to Royal Patronage in the Royal Lodge, Coroebus is a dual course and distance winner, having bounced back to land the Group Three Autumn Stakes on his final start at two.
He makes his first start of the season and is drawn on the opposite side to Native Trail in stall one.
“Obviously Saturday is the big day for us,” Appleby told the Godolphin website. ”We are delighted with Native Trail and Coroebus heading into the 2000 Guineas. William and James rode them in a breeze on Wednesday and both horses looked great.
“Native Trail’s preparation has been faultless and he has definitely come forward since the Craven Stakes. With the stalls in the centre of the track, being drawn 15 doesn’t worry me at all – he is the class horse in the field and William knows him very well.
The Rowley Mile that awaits all the runners
“He holds everything in front of him in that he is an unbeaten dual Group One winner and we are very much looking forward to him hopefully winning a Classic.
“Coroebus is drawn on the other side in stall one, so I’d like to think that we have both angles covered! His preparation has also been perfect and we got exactly what we wanted out of his racecourse gallop.
“He has certainly come on for that piece of work and stepping up to this level will tell us where we are for the future.
“They are two very exciting colts. Native Trail is an unbeaten Champion juvenile while Coroebus is a homebred, which adds a little bit of extra excitement for the team.
“The one thing we do know is that they have both won over the course and distance, so we don’t have any concerns over stamina and handling Newmarket.”
The only horse to beat either of the Godolphin duo is Royal Patronage, who downed Coroebus in the Royal Lodge, having previously had Dubawi Legend behind him when taking the Acomb Stakes at York.
Though the Mark and Charlie Johnston-trained son of Wootton Bassett was last of eight to Luxembourg in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on his final run of the season, his odds of a general 33-1 appear dismissive.
Charlie Johnston said: “We are very happy with him. Obviously there has been plenty of debate about which route the horse would take and this is the path we have landed on. We are under no illusions for the task he has been set.
“You can’t knock his form from Newmarket and from York. Coroebus, Dubawi Legend – he ran against a lot of the right horses and beat them.
“He has one disappointing effort at the backend to put behind him, and we’re going into it in the expectation he is going to improve when he steps up in trip further thought he year, but we’d still like to see a good showing from him this weekend to give us confidence when we do go up in distance in time.”
Luxembourg and Point Lonsdale give Aidan O’Brien a strong hand as the master of Ballydoyle goes in search of an 11th success in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
A son of O’Brien’s 2012 winner Camelot, Luxembourg was unbeaten in three starts as a juvenile and emulated his sire with victory in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster in October.
Camelot, of course, went on to win the Guineas and the Derby, for which Luxembourg heads ante-post lists, before being narrowly denied the fabled Triple Crown in the St Leger.
Like his sire Luxembourg is expected to step up in trip later in the year, but O’Brien is happy to give him a first tilt at Classic glory over the Rowley Mile.
“We’ve been happy with Luxembourg and everything has gone well all the way along with him,” O’Brien said. “He was away at the Curragh five weeks ago and we were happy with what he did and we’ve been happy with everything since.
“We saw in his three runs last season that he’s a high cruiser and obviously he won over a mile last year. Obviously it is a big ask to start him off in the Guineas and he is looking like he will be a middle-distance horse, but we started similar horses like Camelot and Australia in the Guineas.
“We think and hope it is the right place to start. He seems in good form and we will learn a lot about him.”
With Ryan Moore siding with Luxembourg, Frankie Dettori comes in for the ride on Point Lonsdale, who lost his unbeaten record when finishing second to short-priced Guineas favourite Native Trail at the Curragh on his final start at two.
He is behind only his stablemate in the Epsom market, and O’Brien added: “Point Lonsdale is in good form too and he was away at the Curragh as well.
“He hasn’t run beyond seven furlongs, but we always thought that he would stay. Everything has gone well with him and we’ve been happy with him since the Curragh.”
Dettori has a fine big-race record when teaming up with O’Brien, and said in his blog for Sporting Index: “I know Point Lonsdale quite well even though I’ve not ridden him. He beat me in the Chesham last year when I was on Reach For The Moon and he seems a pretty straightforward horse.
“He was beaten fair and square by Native Trail in the National Stakes, but a lot can change between two and three. Over six months have passed since then and Aidan’s record in the Guineas is second to none.
“I won the 1000 on a second string, Mother Earth, last year so I’m pretty hopeful of another big spin this time. Native Trail sets a very high standard for us to beat, but I’m going to go in there thinking I can lower his colours. You’ve got to be positive.
“As for the draw, we’re in 11, but I don’t think it will matter too much this year with only 15 runners. Point Lonsdale seems very straightforward so I’d imagine he can adapt to whatever happens.”
Perfect Power tries a mile for the first time, having been successful on his season return in the Greenham over seven furlongs at Newbury two weeks ago.
Christophe Soumillon maintains the partnership with son of Ardad, who won four of his six outings as a juvenile, including Group One strikes in the Prix Morny at Deauville and the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
Trainer Richard Fahey feels he took his seasonal bow and the step up in trip in his stride, despite not being fully fit.
“I sort of didn’t have him fully wound up (in the Greenham) and I thought we’d learn a little bit about him,” Fahey said.
“The last thing I wanted was him fully warmed up because if it looked like we weren’t going for the Guineas, we would have a two-month dry spell before he’d run again.
“I used it as a prep, I thought he looked a little but chubby around the edges walking around the parade ring but in my mind I’d left some improvement in him.
“He needed the run and he took a big blow afterwards but there was no hiding place in the race, it’s put him spot on and I haven’t had to do much with him since.
“It was a relief, but it’s not that you’re worried about the ability of the horse, it’s just when you have such a good two-year-old you’re then always asked ‘has he trained on?’. That was the relief.
“This horse has got a lot of natural speed, I could run him in a Commonwealth Cup if I wanted, I’ve put him in the St James’s Palace and the Commonwealth Cup – how many horses can you do that with?
“I always think it’s good to have won at Newmarket, coming down the dip we have seen so many good horses not cope with it. It can only be a major plus.”
Galileo Gold took the 2016 renewal for Hugo Palmer and he runs Dubawi Legend, another making his reappearance. He was two lengths behind Native Trail in the Dewhurst and is partnered by Tom Marquand for the first time.
Dubawi Legend (14) was last seen finishing 10th of 13 to Modern Games in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar in November.
Palmer said: “We have no regrets about going to the Breeders’ Cup. We had a stop-start year with him and he needed to grow up and I very much felt that going out there would be like giving him three more races.
“It was a complete disaster, but it did teach him and he does seem to be more grown up.
“I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying that no Breeders’ Cup juvenile winner has come back and won a European Classic, but there are over a dozen beaten horses from the Breeders’ Cup that have.
“I just felt there was less chance of things going wrong if we didn’t run in a trial. If we had, we’d have had to take on Perfect Power and whether we’d beaten him or not, we’d have had a very hard race two weeks out for the Guineas, which is what scared me.
“I think our horse would win Galileo Gold’s Guineas. If they were the same year, I feel Galileo Gold would finish second to him, but it’s a different year and a different time.”
He added: “He was second in the Dewhurst last year, the Dewhurst is normally Europe’s leading two-year-old race and the winner is usually the champion two-year-old and the favourite for next year’s Guineas, which is exactly that the winner of the race this time was, Native Trail.
“We were just about two lengths behind him so we’ve got two lengths to find. He’s grown, he’s filled out, he’s done very well.
“I think I’ve trained everything out of the mare, they’ve all won and this is much the best of them. We’ve not proved he’ll stay a mile, but I’m very confident he will, his sister stayed a mile and three-quarters.
“We’re very excited about Saturday.”
Aside from Native Trail and Luxembourg, there are two other colts who take unbeaten records into the race.
William Knight trains Checkandchallenge, who has twice been successful, with a debut success over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton in November and over a mile on his three-year-old bow in a Listed race at Newcastle earlier this month.
“He is in very good form. He is a big underdog, but at the same time he deserves to be in the line-up and I think he can run a big race,” said Knight.
“There is a little bit of an unknown with him, the unknown being that we don’t really know how good he is.”
The other who has yet to see his colours lowered is Light Infantry, who is making his seasonal reappearance having taken the Horris Hill at Newbury on the second of his two starts last season.
Of Jamie Spencer’s mount, trainer David Simcock said: “I’m really happy with him. It will be interesting to see him on fast ground and we’re really looking forward to running him.
“He has done nothing wrong and I think he will run well. How shall I put it? I think there will be more behind him than in front of him.”
Eydon took the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket on his seasonal bow over nine furlongs, so David Egan’s mount is one who has no stamina doubts.
“We were very impressed with him in the Feilden and he’s come out of the race well,” said his trainer Roger Varian.
“It will be a different test altogether on Saturday, but we couldn’t be more pleased with his condition and hope he will run well.”
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