Godolphin's Appleby in search of racing history at Irish Guineas

Having won the English and French Guineas, the British handler is hoping to complete a clean sweep of the Classics in three different countries with three different horses — a feat that has never been achieved before



Native Trail lines up in Saturday’s Irish 2,000 Guineas. — Godolphin website
Native Trail lines up in Saturday’s Irish 2,000 Guineas. — Godolphin website

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Wed 18 May 2022, 11:56 PM

History beckons for the Dubai-owned Godolphin racing stable when Native Trail lines up in Saturday’s Irish 2,000 Guineas (G1), and also gift in-form handler, Charlie Appleby, with a first success in the races.

Having won the English and French Guineas, Appleby is hoping to complete a clean sweep of the Classics in three different countries with three different horses — a feat that has never been achieved before.

Only Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has won three Classics in the same year in 2002, however, with two different horses. Rock of Gibraltar completed the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas double, while Landseer landed the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas).

Appleby’s two Guineas wins this year have come through Coroebus, who was a surprise winner of the English 2,000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket on April 20, while Modern Games added the French 2,000 Guineas (G1) when successful at Chantilly on May 15.

Native Trail heads into the Irish 1,000 Guineas as the popular favourite despite having been beaten by Coroebus at Newmarket three weeks ago. The son of former European champion sprinter Oasis Dream, Native Trail won all five starts as a two-year-old to be declared last year’s champion juvenile colt.

Among those impressive victories were two that were achieved at the highest level in the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (G1) at The Curragh, Ireland in September and the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (G1) at Newmarket in October.

“Everyone’s very excited,” Appleby told the Godolphin website. “The horse looks fantastic. He did his last piece of work (on Tuesday), William (Buick) sat on him and he looked great. So it’s all systems go for The Curragh.”

Native Trail will face a maximum of 10 rivals when he bids to rediscover his winning ways at The Curragh, a course on which he won last year’s National Stakes.

Appleby’s colt is one of only two British challengers, the other being Andrew Balding’s Imperial Fights, in a race that is very much a domestic contest featuring a duo representing 11-time Irish 2,000 Guineas-winning hander Aidan O’Brien — The Acropolis and Ivy League.

O’Brien’s son, the former champion jockey Joseph, who won the Classic in three successive years between 2011 and 2013, saddles Buckaroo, who is seen as the main threat to Native Trail.

Buckaroo was only just beaten by leading Epsom Derby (G1) hope Piz Badile in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown before bouncing back in the Tetrarch Stakes over the Irish Guineas’ course and distance.

Veteran Irish handler Jim Bolger won The Curragh showpiece for the first time in his illustrious career last year with Mac Swiney and returns looking for more success with Boundless Ocean and Wexford Native.

Atomic Jones (Ger Lyons), Duke De Sessa (Dermot Weld), Malex (Michael O’Callaghan), and New Energy (Sheila Lavery) complete the likely 11-runner field.


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