Native Trail is set to face 14 rivals when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Oasis Dream colt was crowned last season’s champion juvenile after winning each of his four starts, including Group One triumphs in the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst at Newmarket.
He picked up where he left off with a comeback victory in the Craven Stakes two and a half weeks ago and will be a warm order to provide trainer Charlie Appleby with a first Guineas success from stall 15.
The Moulton Paddocks handler has a major second string to his bow in the form of Coroebus who, like Native Trail, has already won over the Rowley Mile – in last season’s Autumn Stakes – and is drawn furthest away from his stablemate in stall one.
Aidan O’Brien, who has already won the first Classic of the season on a record 10 occasions, also fires a twin assault, with Luxembourg and Point Lonsdale both declared.
Beresford Stakes and Vertem Futurity Trophy winner Luxembourg appears the Ballydoyle handler’s first string ahead of Point Lonsdale, who won his first four starts before finding Native Trail too strong at the Curragh.
The Richard Fahey-trained Perfect Power rounded off his juvenile campaign with back-to-back wins at the top level over six furlongs and successfully stepped up to seven in the Greenham at Newbury. Two weeks later, the son of Ardad tests the water over a mile for the first time.
Hugo Palmer has never made any secret of the regard in which he holds Dubawi Legend, who was second to Native Trail in the Dewhurst in October and renews rivalry.
Eydon made a big impression in the Feilden Stakes at the Craven meeting and is swiftly stepped up in class by Roger Varian, while William Knight’s Checkandchallenge makes his competitive debut on turf following successive wins on the all-weather.
Andrew Balding is represented by last season’s Coventry Stakes winner Berkshire Shadow and Richard Hannon saddles both dual Group Two scorer Lusail and Free Handicap runner-up Tacarib Bay.
Recent Leopardstown maiden winner Boundless Ocean (Jim Bolger), two-time victor Light Infantry (David Simcock), Royal Patronage (Mark and Charlie Johnson) – who pipped Coroebus in Newmarket’s Royal Lodge Stakes in September – and rank outsider The Wizard Of Eye (Stan Moore) complete the line-up.