Native Trail downs Point Lonsdale in National Stakes

Native Trail was cut to 5-1 favourite (from 10) for the 2,000 Guineas by Paddy Power after a convincing performance in the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (1400m) at the Curragh on Sunday, giving Newmarket trainer Charlie Appleby his third winner in the last four runnings of the Group 1 race.

The unbeaten son of Oasis Dream was entering the lion's den as he was taking on another unbeaten colt in 8-13 Ballydoyle-trained Point Lonsdale, but he emerged with the lion's dinner.

He went away impressively inside the last furlong under William Buick to win by three-and-a-half lengths, with game Phoenix Stakes winner Ebro River half-a-length away in third.

Appleby, who won the race with Quorto in 2018 and the brilliant Pinatubo the following year, said: "It was always the plan after he won the Superlative Stakes to come here.

"People questioned why we didn't go for a race like the Champagne Stakes, but I didn't feel that carrying a penalty there on potential soft ground at Doncaster was going to suit him.

"I think this is a great race to be involved in and it's a great weekend to be involved with. To win another National Stakes is very satisfying."

He added: "He's an interesting horse to be around. I took him to a gallop at Newmarket two weeks ago, and if you asked me then would he win a National Stakes I might have been a bit more on the fence, but he came on an awful lot for that and full credit to the team at home.

"We put a cross-noseband on him too. William said that he was just so green, it was like going to post on an unraced maiden. Two furlongs out, I'm not sure I thought he would win, but I knew he would gallop out strong." 

Paddy Power cut the colt to 7-4 favourite (from 6) for next month's Dewhurst, and Appleby said: "I reckon he'll go straight there; it's a tried and trusted route. I don't know if he's quite got the head for a Breeders' Cup at the moment.

"As for the ground, it wasn't testing out there, but he's a heavy-topped horse and a bit of juice in the ground wouldn't hurt. I think he's versatile enough to adapt to both."

For Aidan O'Brien and the no longer unbeaten Point Lonsdale, it was a setback on a mixed weekend at best for the stable, but the champion trainer was not totally downhearted.

He said: "I thought he ran well; he did everything right. We've always thought that he will be lot happier going a mile and he will be a middle-distance horse for next year.

"He ran a brave race; the winner had a bit more pace than us on the day. He was beaten by a good horse. We've no definite plans but it's a possibility that he won't run again this season."