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By HRI Foreign Desk Staff — Charlie Appleby will be making his annual trip over to Ireland later this month as Native Trail looks a likely runner in the 2021 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes.

Once current St Leger favourite, Hurricane Lane has returned home safe and sound from Doncaster on Saturday. Appleby’s full attention now will be fixed on day two of Irish Champions Weekend.

Appleby has Lazuli entered up in the Flying Five Stakes, Calm Skies in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Yibir is a possible entrant in the Irish St Leger.

While all three boast live chances, Appleby’s best chance of a winner at the Curragh on the Sunday will lie with National Stakes contender, Native Trail.

A 210k GNS purchase at the Craven Breeze Up Sales last April, Native Trail secured an impressive victory on debut at Sandown, beating future Acomb Stakes winner Royal Patronage by four lengths.

Appleby’s charge was then backed into short-priced favouritism for the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, and was forced to grind out a hard-fought victory to keep his 100% record in-tact.

“He’s a lovely horse to ride through a race as he goes through his gears smoothly.” Appleby said, following Native Trial’s triumph at Newmarket.

“He showed that on his first start at Sandown and we saw the same (at Newmarket). He’s a breeze-up consigned horse, so he’d have had a bit of experience put to him early doors.

“But you wouldn’t know that, to be fair — he’s a very laid-back character. It was a good achievement winning today but I do feel that when we step him up in trip, we’ll hopefully see a bit more improvement again.”

Master Of The Seas won the Superlative Stakes for the stable in 2020, before going on to run in the National Stakes. Appleby was going for a hat-trick of victories in that Group One, having won the two previous editions with Quorto and Pinatubo.

Sadly, Master Of The Seas came up a little short on the day, finishing fourth as Thunder Moon claimed the honours.

Native Trail could be joined in the 2021 National Stakes by both Noble Truth and New Science. William Buick has the pick of the yard but he won’t need to deliberate for long. Buick will undoubtedly ride Native Trail, who’ll likely be battling Point Lonsdale and Ebro River for favouritism.

“The National Stakes is a well-trodden path for myself,” said Appleby who has also plotted successful forays to land major Dubai and Australian horse racing events in the past. “I like to go and have a crack at it over there.

“I think the ground would suit him. My only concern coming into Newmarket was the quick ground.

“He’s by Oasis Dream and they usually prefer a fast surface, but he’s a big unit and has got some big feet on him, so a little bit of ease in the ground wouldn’t do him any harm.

“We’ll look towards the National Stakes and then potentially on to the Vertem Futurity Trophy or the Lagardere.”

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