The exciting NATIVE TRAIL (Newmarket, 2.55) is far from the finished article, but his raw ability may still be enough to see him retain his unbeaten record in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes.
In three wins to date the son of Oasis Dream has displayed inexperience, but on each occasion his class and raking stride have taken him to the front when it matters.
Admittedly, his latest effort in lowering the colours of the previously unbeaten Point Lonsdale in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh was a more complete performance, albeit he needed to be chivvied into the bridle before powering clear at the furlong marker.
Trainer Charlie Appleby (right) has questioned whether Native Trail has ‘the mind’ for a trip to the Breeders’ Cup and it could be that he is a slow burner who saves his best for the track.
Those attributes certainly suggest he is going to be a force to be reckoned with next summer, because he is sailing through his juvenile campaign despite a lack of ringcraft, while he clearly needs time for his sizeable frame to mature.
The only slight reservation regarding his chance today is the track. Handling the Dip at Newmarket is no easy task when a horse is as substantial as Native Trail, but if he does cope with the undulations, he will devour the climb to the line.
Opposing Willie Mullins in this afternoon’s Cesarewitch Handicap has proved a fruitless task in recent runnings given the Irish handler bids to become the only trainer in history to win today’s staying feature four years running.
M C Muldoon, Burning Victory, Whiskey Sour, Great White Shark, Micro Manage and Foveros will strive to write the master of Closutton into the record books by emulating Low Sun (2018), Stratum (2019) and Great White Shark 12 months ago.
However CALLING THE WIND (Newmarket, nap, 3.35) has established himself as a classy stayer in his own right and looks capable of denying the Mullins battalion.
The five-year-old moved with his trademark high cruising speed through a good-quality 12-furlong Newbury handicap three weeks ago, which should have acted as the perfect prep for today’s event.
The return to a marathon trip will also suit.