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    Native Approach ready for the major test of Craven
Native Approach ready for the major test of Craven
Native Approach ready for the major test of Craven. Source: ireland-live.ie

Native Approach ready for the major test of Craven

Appleby: ‘He looks great at home but he’s got to go and switch it on on the turf now.’

Charlie Appleby's Classic hand might be strengthened if Native Approach wins the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket for the fourth time in the last six races.

Following Derby winner Masar became the first handler from Moulton Paddocks to win this prestigious 2000 Guineas trial in 2018, while Master Of The Seas and Native Trail both achieved Craven gold in 2021 and 2022 before finishing as the runners-up in the Guineas less than three weeks later.

The unbeaten three-time Kempton winner Notable Speech and Ancient Wisdom, who delighted in a racecourse gallop on the Rowley Mile on Wednesday morning, are Appleby's two main contenders for the first Classic of the season on May 4.

However, on Thursday, Native Approach—who was just defeated in his Kempton debut in January before winning one the following month—will have the chance to make an impression.

Appleby said: “Like a lot of these horses that come off the all-weather, we’re testing them on the turf now.  I’m not trying to sit on the fence. He looks great at home but he’s got to go and switch it on on the turf now. I’m always one who would rather just sit before I get too bolshy over what they have achieved or what they could achieve – like Notable Speech, he’s doing it at a different level at the moment.”

He added: “At the end of the day, from the outside looking in, the only way you can beat City Of Troy is by an unexposed three-year-old, because what he beat last year, I don’t see anything reversing the form myself.”

Several horses with Group One form are also vying for this Group Three contest, making Native Approach's task extremely difficult.

Andre Fabre's Alcantor crosses the Channel for a race his illustrious trainer won with Xaar in 1998. He was last seen being touched off by David Menuisier's Sunway in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in October.

“He’s done well over the winter, I’m pleased with him and I think running him in the Craven will be a good experience for him – and for me,” said Fabre.

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