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Record eighth win for Aidan O'Brien as Churchill claims 2,000 Guineas glory

It was another winning day for the Irish trainer at Newmarket.

Churchill ridden by Ryan Moore crosses the line at Newmarket.
Churchill ridden by Ryan Moore crosses the line at Newmarket.
Image: Jon Buckle

IRISH TRAINER AIDAN O’Brien saddled a record eighth English 2,000 Guineas winner on Saturday as Churchill justified 6/4 favouritism with a convincing victory in the first British classic of the season.

Churchill won the colts’ mile showpiece at Newmarket, eastern England, from Barney Roy, a 7/2 chance, with Andre Fabre’s French raider Al Wukair (11/2) third.

For Churchill’s jockey Ryan Moore it was a second 2,000 win after he partnered O’Brien’s Gleneagles in 2015.

Moore had Churchill beautifully positioned, making his decisive move to hit the front a furlong out to score by one length with only a neck splitting second and third.

“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,” O’Brien told ITV Racing.

“Everyone at home was very happy with the horse which is why we took the chance to come first time, so I’m delighted.”

The 2,000 Guineas is often regarded as an influential trial for next month’s Epsom Derby, with O’Brien’s Camelot in 2012 the last to go on from Newmarket to add the blue riband run over half a mile further.

O’Brien, reflecting on Churchill’s chances of turning up at Epsom on June 3, 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.

Darley Irish Oaks Weekend - Day One - Curragh Races Aidan O'Brien. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

“He is by Galileo and horses by that sire very rarely lack stamina.”

For Moore, Churchill has it all.

“He’s such a lovely horse. He has a magnificent mind. I think he has everything you want in a racehorse — he travels, has speed and loads of class.

“He was always racing comfortably — he was there a little bit early. He always feels like there’s more when you ask him.”

O’Brien returns to Newmarket on Sunday to saddle Rhododendron, favourite for the fillies mile classic, the 1,000 Guineas.

O’Brien has done the Guineas double twice before in 2005 and 2012.

“If Rhododendron wins the 1000 Guineas it will be a blooming miserable weekend for the bookies”, said British bookmaker William Hill’s spokesman Tony Kenny.

William Hill quote Churchill at 1-2 for the Irish 2,000 Guineas and cut his odds from 9-2 to 7-4 for the Derby.

© – AFP 2017

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