By Duane Fonseca
William Buick produced a ride out of the textbooks to help Native Trail stretch his unbeaten record to four with a sensational victory in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket Saturday.
The 2yo Oasis Dream colt had won the Group 1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh and the Group 2 Superlative Stakes over course and distance in July and was widely tipped to win comfortably. However, Native Trail needed an able partner to guide him and he found one in Buick, who raced him along the standside rail and then cut right to find room from where he easily made his bid for glory 400m out.
After being asked to stretch, Native Trail went clear easily to win by two lengths from Dubawi Legend, trained by Hugo Palmer and driven by James Doyle. A further half length back in third was Roger Varian’s Bayside Boy carrying David Egan.
It was Buick’s third success on the card after winning the card opening Dubai Nursery Handicap with Charles Hills’ Point Lynas and the Group 3 Emirates Autumn Stakes with Charlie Appleby’s Coroebus.
Buick said: “He’s a gorgeous horse with tons of ability. It was a messy race and we expected it to be. It was tactically hard to get a handle on it. We came slow and he hit the rising ground really well and deserves to be a champion 2yo. He’s a real man and a big horse already and he does it all. He unwinds himself at home and brings it on at the track.”
It was a third win on the card for Appleby, who also won the Group 3 Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes with Goldspur ridden by Doyle.
Speaking of Native Trail’s success, Appleby said: “I gained more confidence around the paddock looking at him and he’s done a fantastic job. It’s a big team effort. The results we’ve had with him shows next year we have a fantastic horse on our hands. There’s a lot more to come and we are not going to get too carried away.”
Appleby landed a quick early double at the start of a Newmarket weekend that was expected to heavily swing Godolphin’s way with Goldspur and Coroebus winning their respective Group 3 affairs rather comfortably.
Saturday’s going was deemed good to soft and it turned out to be a walk in the park for the aforementioned pair that were ridden to victories by James Doyle and William Buick in the Zetland and Emirates Autumn Stakes respectively. Buick’s victory aboard Coroebus was a second on the card for the rider, who had won the card opening Dubai Nursery Handicap over 1400m with the Charles Hills schooled Point Lynas.
And having cruised aboard Coroebus at virtually the back of the field of 10 in the 1600m affair, he let the 2yo Dubawi loose 600m from home. Coroebus appeared to wander off a bit, but Buick got him to focus and he cut back towards the centre from the standside rail to win by a solid two lengths from Andrew Balding’s Oisin Murphy driven Imperial Fighter, who raced to second from the far side. A further two and a half lengths back in third was Roger Varian’s Dubai Poet with Andrea Atzeni up.
Buick said: “He was strong. The last time he got caught on the line (in the Royal Lodge Stakes), but he was a different kind of horse (here) and once I pushed the button he put the race to bed in a matter of strides. I think it was his second run then. Because he picks up so quickly in a short space of time he can really turn it on.”
It could have been three in three for Buick had Hafit lived up to his billing as favourite and won the Zetland. Instead, he could only watch as James Doyle and Goldspur only just conquered Donnacha O’Brien’s Frankie Dettori driven Unconquerable on the line by a head in the 2000m contest. Hafit and Buick were a further short head back in third.
“I thought I'd won to be honest, I was just making sure but I was pretty certain. I didn't feel it was as tight as maybe it looked,” Doyle said.
“He's done well this horse. He really surprised us the first day at Sandown. He's been sleeping in his work and we didn't really know what to expect but he put in a pretty good performance albeit the form has been knocked a few times since. There was no real second to him to be honest, he won six lengths kind of eased down.
“He got quite wound up at Epsom and got a bit upset in the stalls (and was withdrawn as a result) but he was much better today in the prelims and stood in the gates fine and he’s a big relentless galloper who clearly sleeps at home. It’s not a bad way to have them, probably a nightmare for Will, but not a bad way to have them.
“He’s a fine big horse and he should develop over the winter and it will be interesting to see what way Charlie campaigns him next season.”
Winning trainer Appleby added: “He’s a nice homebred with a nice staying page. He’s only come of late and it’s all about next year with him. We’ll start off with some of the trials in the spring maybe. He’s certainly got the page for it (the Derby) and he’s doing nothing wrong bar that one little blip which has been ironed out.”