Champion 2-year-old colt Churchill made his 2017 debut a winning one when powered to a one-length victory over Barney Roy and Al Wukair to win the Group 1 QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket May 6.
Sent off as the heavy favorite in the field of 10, Churchill did not disappoint his backers, rallying from just off the pace to take the lead with a furlong left to run. Under a strong ride from jockey Ryan Moore, Churchill turned back challenges of rivals Barney Roy and Al Wukair for a decisive victory.
Barney Roy overcame a troubled trip to claim second, with Al Wukair another neck back in third. Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:36.61 over a course rated ‘good to firm’.
A 3-year-old colt by Galileo, Churchill now has won six of seven career starts, with his only loss being a third-place finish at the Curragh in his career debut last May. His current winning streak includes victories in the G1 Dewhurst, G1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, G2 Futurity, and G3 Tyros Stakes.
Churchill provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with his record eighth winner in the classic. After the race, O’Brien told reporters, “I was very worried about it being his first run. He’s a big horse and we knew he would come on for the run. Ryan gave him a lovely ride.”
“Everyone at home was very happy with the horse which is why we took the chance to come first time, so I’m delighted.”
Regarding whether Churchill will attempt the 12-furlong Derby next month, O’Brien said, “The lads (owners) will decide about the Derby themselves. They make all the decisions about all the horses.”
“He is very relaxed and will probably get as far as you want him to get – he has speed as well, but he has a very relaxed way of racing. He is by Galileo and horses by that sire very rarely lack stamina.”
Churchill was bred in Ireland by Liberty Bloodstock and campaigned by Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith. Churchill is out of Meow, a stakes-placed daughter of Storm Cat. Meow is out of multiple champion Airwave, and is a half-sister to stakes winners Aloof and Orator.
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