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Two rides for Neil Callan on 2,000 Guineas day as Native Trail takes aim at Classic glory




A jockey familiar to every Hong Kong punter features among the riders on the first big card of the English season at Newmarket on Saturday.


Neil Callan took the decision to call time on life in the city after seven years and 283 winners at the end of last season and has returned to Britain, saluting nine times in 2022.


The rider partners two outsiders on 2,000 Guineas day but does not have a mount in the first English Classic, which looks set to be dominated by Godolphin’s premier trainer Charlie Appleby, who trained 17 Group One winners last year.


Those victories included an Epsom Derby, an Irish Derby and a treble at the Breeders’ Cup and he will be confident of starting this campaign with yet another top-level success in the Guineas.


In Native Trail, Appleby trains a potential superstar who heads into the race unbeaten in five starts and, unlike plenty of recent winners of the race, he has already proved his well-being as a three-year-old by landing the Group Three Craven Stakes, one of the key trials, on his return to action this month.


Already a dual Group One winner, he was crowned champion two-year-old after beating the best Irish juveniles in the National Stakes at the Curragh and winning the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket to round off his first season.


Native Trail will be ridden by William Buick, who rode Pakistan Star to victory in the QE II Cup in Hong Kong in 2018, and he can be backed at around even money with British bookmakers.

Any punters parting with their cash would be wise to bear in mind that he tends to come off the bridle early before staying on strongly at the death.


Native Trail’s biggest dangers appear to be stablemate Coroebus, who has won two of his three races, and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Luxembourg, winner of the Group One Racing Post Trophy on his final start last season.


Those who prefer to play at fancy prices could perhaps do worse than back outsider Checkandchallenge, who is two from two in his career at lower levels and deserves to take his chance against the big boys.


The best supporting race on the card is the Group Three Palace House Stakes (1,000m), in which Callan rides Whenthedealinsdone.


A winner of three of his 10 races, he looks up against it at the weights in his first attempt at Group level and it would be something of a surprise if he were to prove good enough to salute.


Hollie Doyle, who has finished second and third in the past two renewals of the Longines International Jockeys’ Challenge at Happy Valley, gets the leg up on Came From The Dark in this race and the galloper could well get his reward for a string of consistent performances.


Placed in 11 of his 19 starts, the six-year-old has not finished outside the first two in his couple of starts at this level.


Callan’s best hope of a win could come in the final race aboard Vespasian. The lightly raced son of Acclamation had no chance when carried left out of the stalls by a wayward rival from a poor draw last time.


He did well to finish sixth in the circumstances and his earlier form gives him an each-way chance.


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