Churchill's finest hour gives Aidan O'Brien record Guineas triumph

Churchill's finest hour gives Aidan O'Brien record Guineas triumph

Aidan O'Brien chalked up a record eighth triumph in the Qipco 2000 Guineas as Churchill justified favouritism in the first Classic of the season at Newmarket.

Churchill struck twice at Group One level in 2016 and after being crowned Europe's leading juvenile, he had headed the Guineas market throughout the winter.

Sent off the 6-4 market leader, Ryan Moore was supremely confident throughout aboard the son of Galileo and he quickened up in style to repel the challenge of Greenham victor Barney Roy (7-2) by a length with Al Wukair (11-2) a neck away in third.

Churchill was having his first start for 210 days and O'Brien admitted his lack of a prep run had been a concern going in to the race.

O'Brien said: "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.

"We always thought he was a horse with a lot of speed. Ryan was very happy to be handy. The pace was sensible and Ryan knew Donnacha's (O'Brien) horse (Lancaster Bomber) would take him there.

"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."

Barney Roy and Al Wukair could face a rematch at Royal Ascot with both sets of connections nominating the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot as a likely next port of call.

O'Brien and Moore had earlier been on the mark as Seventh Heaven (4-7 favourite) ran out a thoroughly impressive winner of the Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes.

Last year's Irish and Yorkshire Oaks winner disposed of the opposition in this Group Two with the minimum of fuss, seeing off French raider One Foot In Heaven by five lengths to set up a possible trip to Epsom next month.

O'Brien said: "She's a lovely mare. We know she gets a mile and a half well and she loves good ground or better and she's progressing all the time.

"We came here today with one eye on the Coronation Cup. We tried to get a run in between and this race might work for her. We were delighted with her in Dubai and this race was lovely."

Moore also struck Listed gold aboard the Mark Johnston-trained Permian (5-2) in the Listed Havana Gold Newmarket Stakes.

Girl power was also to the fore in the Longholes Palace House Stakes as Marsha (8-1) defied a 7lb penalty for her Prix de l'Abbaye triumph in the Group Three affair.

Winning trainer Sir Mark Prescott said: "When she won a Listed race at Ayr, that was the beginning. She looked very impressive and has improved and improved and she has obviously improved today because she was meeting everything 7lb worse and she beat them again, the Abbaye crew, so she's done very well.

"We were going to Haydock (for the Temple Stakes) and we will see what 147 owners here want to do, but I think we will probably wait for Ascot (the King's Stand).

"She is a filly and they are remembered by their best performance - maybe we would have gone to Haydock if she was a colt, but we will probably wait for Ascot."

Away from Newmarket, Ajman Princess (6-1) finally realised her potential as she ran out a comfortable winner of the Listed Betfred TV EBF Stallions Daisy Warwick Stakes at Goodwood.

The other Listed heat at the Sussex venue, the Betfred 'Watch Sky Sports In Our Shops' Conqueror Stakes went the way of the John Gosden-trained Laugh Aloud (3-1).

More in this Section

Amnesty International urge FIFA not to let China host Club World CupAmnesty International urge FIFA not to let China host Club World Cup

FA chief Clarke wants concussion substitutes introduced ‘as quickly as possible’FA chief Clarke wants concussion substitutes introduced ‘as quickly as possible’

Mohamed Salah returns to Liverpool training after ankle injuryMohamed Salah returns to Liverpool training after ankle injury

FAI to claim privilege over two more documents in ODCE investigationFAI to claim privilege over two more documents in ODCE investigation


Lifestyle

Put provenance first this season and make 'Made in Munster' the label to be seen in. With outstanding craftmanship and commitment to quality, these homegrown designers are making Munster-made fashion wish list worthy around the world. Shopping local has never looked so good. Carolyn Moore reports.Made in Munster: Shopping local has never looked this good.

Karen Cunneen-Bilbow Owner, Fabricate IrelandMade in Munster: ‘I turned my hobby into a business’

An invitation is extended to all to pay a visit to Bride View Cottage, writes Charlie WilkinsSeasonal cheer will spread early in Co Cork as an invitation is extended to all to visit Bride View Cottage

After a week of Fortnite Chapter 2, we think it’s fair to say Epic lived up to their name with the game’s ‘re-launch’.GameTech: Happy after a week of Fortnite Chapter 2

More From The Irish Examiner