NATIVE Trail remains on course for next Saturday’s Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh. Last year’s European champion two-year-old finished second to stable companion Coroebus in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket a fortnight ago and was the subject of a positive report yesterday from trainer Charlie Appleby.
“Native Trail has come out of the Guineas fresh and well,” the trainer said. “He did an easy piece of work on Wednesday and the plan is to work him again on Saturday [today]. That’s a week out from the Irish 2000 Guineas and we are looking forward to running him at the Curragh. He is a past winner there and hopefully conditions will suit him.”
Aidan O’Brien is considering supplementing Ivy League for the race. Second to the older horse Pretreville in a Group 3 race at Leopardstown last Sunday, the Galileo colt won an all-weather maiden and handicap in April.
A spokesman for the trainer said: “Ivy League could be added to the Guineas, if Aidan is happy with him after the weekend.”
One of the leading home-trained challengers looks to be Buckaroo, a four-length winner of the Group 3 Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh earlier this month.
Trained by Joseph O’Brien for Qatar Racing, Buckaroo (by Fastnet Rock) was chased home in the Tetrarch by Wexford Native, New Energy and Malex, all of whom could reoppose in the Guineas.
Ballydoyle Stables look to have a much stronger hand in Sunday’s Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas. A spokesperson for Aidan O’Brien said: “Concert Hall, History and Lullaby are our three most likely runners at this stage.”
Concert Hall was a Group 3 winner at the Curragh last season and won a 10-furlong listed race at Navan on her sole start to-date this year. History was an impressive Group 3 winner at Leopardstown last Sunday, a race in which Lullaby finished eighth.
The Dermot Weld-trained Homeless Songs, who misses this weekend’s French equivalent in favour of the Curragh, is likely to be among the favourites, based on her Leopardstown Group 3 win in April.
Jessica Harrington (Discoveries), Joseph O’Brien (Tranquil Lady) and Paddy Twomey (Limiti Di Greccio) also have strong contenders for a race which is short on obvious overseas runners at the moment.
For many the big draw next weekend will be the appearance of State Of Rest in Sunday’s Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup.
A Group/Grade 1 winner on three continents, the Joseph O’Brien-trained four-year-old is set for another global campaign and this could be his final appearance on an Irish racecourse before he retires to Rathbarry Stud.
High Definition, Broome and Wordsworth are under consideration for the race for Aidan O’Brien.
William Haggas is expected to run either Alenquer or Dubai Honour, the pair having finished unplaced in the 12-furlong Dubai Sheema Classic most recently.
Noel Meade, successful in this race a year ago with Helvic Dream, must decide whether to supplement the progressive Layfayette, while Jim Bolger might prefer to see some rain for last year’s Irish 2000 Guineas winner Mac Swiney who could be having his first run of the season here.
Quick ground seems likely at the Curragh for next weekend’s three-day Guineas Festival. Racing manager Evan Arkwright reported: “The aim is to provide good ground next weekend and we are watering to maintain that going.”
Another highlight next weekend will be the unveiling of a statue of Lester Piggott, sculpted by William Newton and presented to the Curragh by David St George, son of Charles St George, for whom Piggott rode many big winners.