Charlie Appleby appeared to hold the ace hand in his attempt to claim the first victory in the Rowley Mile Classic, with last season's champion juvenile Native Trail the firm favourite to keep his unbeaten record intact and Coroebus also prominent in the market.
Native Trail put on a classy display with a comprehensive victory in the Craven Stakes two and a half weeks ago, while Coroebus was making his first competitive outing since winning the Autumn Stakes in early October. The two contenders were drawn on opposite sides of the track, and they raced wide apart for much of the straight-mile contest. As the race got going, it was William Buick who first got vigorous aboard Native Trail nearest the stands side. James Doyle, in contrast, waited until the furlong marker to pose Coroebus the question, and he found plenty racing out of the dip to triumph by three-quarters of a length.
Another noteworthy finisher was Aidan O'Brien's Derby favourite Luxembourg who made valiant late gains to finish in third. Appleby said: "I feel like I felt in the lead up to the race all the way, to be honest - both those horses at every step took a step forward. "Native Trail came here and won the Craven and the same morning Coroebus came for a gallop and William said he felt very exciting, but he couldn't get off Native Trail with what he'd achieved.
"Coming into today I felt we had two live contenders. The draw didn't worry me. They were good horses racing over a straight line, just keep it simple. "Like any good horse he has a lot of natural pace and when they have that aligned with the physique you can't help but get excited about them." He added: "We'll split them up now. It's a nice discussion, but the winner I expect will go to the St James's Palace and Native Trail will go back to the Curragh where he's already won before, he'll go for the Irish Guineas."
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