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Aidan O’Brien breaks record as Churchill wins 2000 Guineas

6 May 2017

Trainer secures a record-breaking eighth QIPCO 2000 Guineas victory with outstanding colt

Churchill and Ryan Moore win the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes from Barney Roy and Al Wukair. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Aidan O’Brien secured a record-breaking eighth QIPCO 2000 Guineas victory as the outstanding Churchill landed the first Classic of the season.

The first QIPCO British Champions Series race of the year promised to be a thriller and did not disappoint with the champion two-year-old of last season winning at the main expense of the previously unbeaten pair of Barney Roy and Al Wukair.

Churchill, ridden by Ryan Moore, got what appeared a near-perfect trip behind front-running stablemate Lancaster Bomber before bagging the stands’ rail and keeping on strongly to hold off the strong late challenges of his closest pursuers.

Bookmakers responded by quoting Churchill at between 2-1 and 6-1 for next month’s Investec Derby.

A decision on his participation is unlikely to be made for a while but O’Brien said: “He’s such a relaxed horse that I think he could get any trip you wanted.

“The boys will have a chat about the Derby. He’s so relaxed in his races that he could probably go as far as you want, and he’s by a sire whose progeny generally stay very well.”

Winning jockey Ryan Moore, winning his second 2000 Guineas, said: “He’s such a straightforward horse to ride, he’s beaten the best of his age at two and he’s done it again here so he’s very hard to knock.

“He’s a beautiful mover, he’s got a fantastic mind, and he fills me with confidence in the race. He feels magnificent every time I sit on him.”

Barney Roy stumbled going into the Dip and, another day, might have given the winner more to think about. Richard Hannon, his trainer, said: “I am very proud of him. He ran a good race, but he stumbled coming into the Dip, mainly through a little inexperience, but he has run a super race and we are very pleased with him. I think it is fair to say the winner had the run of the race.

“The St James’s Palace Stakes is likely to be on the cards for him now.”

Andre Fabre was in no mood to talk after Al Wukair was a neck further back in third. He merely offered: “It’s over”.

It was left to Harry Herbert, advisor to Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing, who own the Dream Ahead colt, to fill in the blanks.

Herbert said: “He ran a hell of a race, but the pace was so slow. He would be much better off a stronger-run race. As a result, he [jockey Gregory Benoist] had to come wide and there was nothing to follow. He has done very well, all things considered.

“Hats off to the winner, but in a faster run race, you’d like to take him on again. It is just frustrating and very hard to quicken off a slow pace.”

He added: “Andre is very disappointed. He said before the race, ‘As they say in America, show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser’.”

Earlier on the card, Marsha had defied a 7lb Group One penalty in the Palace House Stakes and a tilt at the King’s Stand Stakes will be next on her agenda.