Native Trail looks set to keep up Godolphin’s dream season in Dewhurst Stakes

Aidan O’Brien sends Glounthaune to contest Newmarket race

The high-flying Godolphin team hope their top Classic prospect Native Trail can take Saturday's Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket but he will have to repel two other unbeaten Irish colts to do so.

Aidan O'Brien sends Glounthaune for a potential record-equalling eighth success in England's top juvenile contest which had its reputation boosted by the exploits of last year's winner, St Mark's Basilica, in 2021.

Straight Answer also flies the Irish flag for Ger Lyons having been supplemented during the week but there is no doubt that Native Trail looks the one to beat.

Charlie Appleby’s call to send him to the Curragh for last month’s National Stakes paid off with a decisive defeat of Point Lonsdale that puts him clear at the top of the betting for next season’s 2,000 Guineas.

If Sheikh Mohammed's life away from racing has provoked disturbing headlines for the Dubai ruler then his racing fortunes have rarely been so positive in years.

Derby victories for Adayar and Hurricane Lane in 2021 have underlined how a resurgent Godolphin is increasingly putting it up to the Coolmore operation, which held such sway for so long that talk of their famous rivalry seemed fanciful at times.

Much of Saturday’s Newmarket card reflects the new reality with Godolphin’s other big Guineas colt, Coroebus, taken on by three Ballydoyle hopes in the Autumn Stakes, while Appleby and O’Brien also go head-to-head in the Zetland Stakes.

The "superpower" clash will also extend to Kentucky on Saturday night when Ballydoyle's Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Empress Josephine faces Godolphin's Althiqa in the Grade One $400,000 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland.

The latter twice beat her stable companion Summer Romance in a pair of US Grade Ones s already this season and will have Jamie Spencer on her back in a race due off at 9.44pm Irish-time.

O'Brien has engaged the veteran jockey Johnny Velasquez for both Empress Josephine and Order Of Australia who returns to the scene of his shock Breeders Cup success in the $750,000 Keeneland Turf Mile due off at 10.46pm.

Placed in both the ‘Marois’ and the ‘Moulin’ on his last two starts, Order Of Australia is a 7-2 morning line favourite in the US and will break from stall 10 of 13 runners.

The Irish star overcame being drawn widest of all in 14 to spring a 73-1 shock in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November.

The Ballydoyle team will also be in Grade One action in New York on Saturday night (8.47pm) where Wayne Lordan travels to team up with Japan in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont.

Japan renews rivalry with the local star Gufo who got the better of him in the Sword Dancer in Saratoga after the Irish raider endured an interrupted run in the straight.

Godolphin’s other trainer, Saeed Bin Suroor, will try to complete the ‘Autumn Double’ at Newmarket on Saturday through Live Your Dream in the Cesarewitch.

However, Willie Mullins has proved an insurmountable obstacle to everyone else in the marathon handicap recently with an unprecedented three-in-a-row that could stretch to four given the strength of his six-strong raiding party.

Mullins has engaged his old ally Ryan Moore for the unlucky Ascot runner-up M C Muldoon while the services of William Buick and Colin Keane have also been snapped up for the Closutton team.

The champion jumps trainer still has enough staying ammunition left over to run four in Sunday’s €80,000 Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh. Mullins completed the Cesarewitch double in 2019.

Ground conditions are something of an unknown factor for the promising two year old Limiti Di Greccio at the Curragh.

Paddy Twomey's filly was heavily backed to win the Ingabelle over Champions Weekend and enjoyed no luck when runner-up to Panama Red.

These will be the softest conditions she has faced to date in the Staffordstown Stakes which also includes the Moyglare runner-up Sunset Shiraz.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column