The Aidan O’Brien-trained Churchill stormed to success in the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday to complete a British-Irish Guineas double under Ryan Moore.
The three-year-old son of Galileo travelled powerfully under Moore in wet conditions and stayed on well in the closing stages despite edging to his right to come clear of his rivals by two and a half-lengths.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Thunder Snow, who suffered issues after coming out of the stalls in the Kentucky Derby, put that debacle behind with a fine effort to finish second under Christophe Soumillon, with a further four and a half-lengths back to Mick Halford’s Irishcorrespondent in third.
Churchill’s victory was O’Brien’s 11th in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas and he also become the fourth Ballydoyle colt to win both editions of the Guineas (Rock Of Gibraltar 2002, Henrythenavigator 2008 and Gleneagles 2015).
The colt’s victory now sets up a tilt for the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June in which he could take on Barney Roy and Al Wukair, who finished second and third respectively to O’Brien’s charge at Newmarket.
The Ballydoyle maestro said:
He’s a great horse and we’re delighted with him. He sleeps, he relaxes and he quickens. He’s a very exciting horse. Coming here we were thinking we’d go from here to Ascot and he’ll probably go for the St James’s Palace Stakes.
He’d have no problem stepping up to 10 furlongs later in the year. He’s so relaxed and chilled.
Winning rider Ryan Moore was effusive in his praise of the imposing colt. He remarked:
I think he’s a very talented horse, he does everything you want him to do as a jockey and he ticks all the boxes. He goes to sleep on you and he’s such a good mover, that’s the thing that always stands out with him.
When you sit on him, there’s a lot of power underneath you and he never misses a beat.