Aidan O'Brien conquers Newmarket with Classic clean sweep

Aidan O'Brien conquers Newmarket with Classic clean sweep

Aidan O'Brien's incredible training talents were advertised in their full glory as Churchill and Winter claimed the first two Classics of the season at Newmarket.

The Ballydoyle handler is, of course, no stranger to big-race success, but this is only the third time he has taken out both the Qipco-sponsored 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas on the same weekend.

Churchill, last season's champion juvenile after winning five of his six starts, including a hat-trick of Group Ones, was particularly dominant against the colts on Saturday.

Always well positioned in the hands of Ryan Moore, the 6-4 favourite oozed class as he saw off Greenham winner Barney Roy and French challenger Al Wukair with something to spare.

Churchill is a best-priced 5-1 favourite for next month's Investec Derby at Epsom, but, as is their wont, connections were in no rush to commit to future targets.

"It was brilliant and I'm delighted. He is a big, imposing horse with an unbelievable mind," said O'Brien.

"Obviously a mile and a half you are not sure, but I think he can go down a lot of roads."

O'Brien was widely expected to complete the Guineas double 24 hours later with Fillies' Mile heroine Rhododendron, but she had to make do with minor honours behind stable companion Winter.

While the 5-4 favourite endured a troubled passage, 9-1 shot Winter was in clear water out wide under Wayne Lordan and two lengths separated the pair at the line.

Rhododendron is the 5-2 market leader to take her revenge in the Oaks, with Winter a general 8-1 chance.

Winter was having just her second start for O'Brien, having last year been in the care of the now-retired David Wachman.

O'Brien said: "I'm obviously delighted. David (Wachman) always thought the world of her and told us she was going to be a Classic filly.

"Wayne gave her a great ride. She's a fine, big mare.

"She (Rhododendron) was coming home very well and we thought she could be an Oaks filly."

O'Brien also landed the Jockey Club Stakes with Seventh Heaven and the Dahlia Stakes with Somehow over the course of the weekend at Headquarters.

His Washington DC was only narrowly denied by the Sir Mark Prescott-trained Marsha in Saturday's Palace House Stakes.

The Ballydoyle maestro was also among the big-race winners on home turf at Leopardstown on Sunday, with Douglas Macarthur seeing off better-fancied stable companions Yucatan and Capri in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.

David O'Meara's British challenger Custom Cut enhanced his fine record at Leopardstown with victory in the Ard Glen Construction Amethyst Stakes, while Jim Bolger's Bean Feasa took out the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial.

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