William Buick hopes unbeaten Native Trail will keep “coming up with the goods” and justify short-priced favouritism in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.
The son of Oasis Dream was unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile, winning Group One races in the National Stakes and Dewhurst.
He made it five from five when scoring with ease in the Craven Stakes over course and distance on his first run as a three-year-old.
Godolphin’s number one jockey Buick heads to Headquarters in search of his fifth British Classic success. Should Native Trail succeed, it would give both himself and trainer Charlie Appleby a first triumph in the mile colts’ Classic.
Buick feels Native Trail, who is drawn widest of all in stall 15, has answered every bell, and said: “He has done nothing wrong. He has come through this year and produced in the Craven.
“He was always a nice horse physically and when he won first time out at Sandown, you knew you had a nice horse on your hands, but he took every step that was asked of him in his stride and everything you asked of him, he just keeps coming up with the goods.
“There is no point in looking back – he has to go and do it as a three-year-old.”
The 33-year-old has no qualms about the horse’s ability to handle the preliminaries and believes he is professional enough to take things in his stride on the big stage.
“He has a solid temperament,” added Buick. “He is a solid professional and loves his work. He is a horse who has plenty of confidence. He is very straightforward and very professional. On the track and at home, he just goes about his business.
“He has a long stride and a very high cruising speed. He also has a turn of foot, which he showed last year and in the Craven.”
However, stablemate Coroebus, who will be ridden by James Doyle, is second-favourite with most firms and rates a “big threat”, according to Buick.
“It is a deep race, as you’d expect. Everyone is going to turn up in good shape and you have to respect all the opposition really.
“Coroebus is a danger. He has plenty of talent and ability. You saw that last year.”
While Aidan O’Brien seeks a record-extending 11th success in the race, Appleby will seemingly not have a better chance to gain his first with two serious chances to break his duck.
Though he lost his unbeaten record to Royal Patronage in the Royal Lodge, Coroebus is a dual course and distance winner, having bounced back to land the Group Three Autumn Stakes on his final start at two.
He makes his first start of the season and is drawn on the opposite side to Native Trail in stall one.
“Obviously Saturday is the big day for us,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.
“We are delighted with Native Trail and Coroebus heading into the 2000 Guineas. William and James rode them in a breeze on Wednesday and both horses looked great.
“Native Trail’s preparation has been faultless and he has definitely come forward since the Craven Stakes. With the stalls in the centre of the track, being drawn 15 doesn’t worry me at all – he is the class horse in the field and William knows him very well.
“He holds everything in front of him in that he is an unbeaten dual Group One winner and we are very much looking forward to him hopefully winning a Classic.
“Coroebus is drawn on the other side in stall one, so I’d like to think that we have both angles covered! His preparation has also been perfect and we got exactly what we wanted out of his racecourse gallop.
“He has certainly come on for that piece of work and stepping up to this level will tell us where we are for the future.
“They are two very exciting colts. Native Trail is an unbeaten Champion juvenile while Coroebus is a homebred, which adds a little bit of extra excitement for the team.
“The one thing we do know is that they have both won over the course and distance, so we don’t have any concerns over stamina and handling Newmarket.”
The only horse to beat either of the Godolphin duo is Royal Patronage, who downed Coroebus in the Royal Lodge, having previously had Dubawi Legend behind him when taking the Acomb Stakes at York.
Though the Mark and Charlie Johnston-trained son of Wootton Bassett was last of eight to Luxembourg in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on his final run of the season, his odds of a general 33-1 appear dismissive.
Charlie Johnston said: “We are very happy with him. Obviously there has been plenty of debate about which route the horse would take and this is the path we have landed on. We are under no illusions for the task he has been set.
“You can’t knock his form from Newmarket and from York. Coroebus, Dubawi Legend – he ran against a lot of the right horses and beat them.
“He has one disappointing effort at the backend to put behind him, and we’re going into it in the expectation he is going to improve when he steps up in trip further thought he year, but we’d still like to see a good showing from him this weekend to give us confidence when we do go up in distance in time.”