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Churchill bound for Royal Ascot after completing Classic double

28 May 2017

"He ticks all the boxes" says Ryan Moore as Aidan O'Brien trained colt follows up Newmarket triumph.

Moore gives Churchill a celebratory pat after his Curragh victory. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Churchill is set for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20 after completing a Classic double with a comfortable victory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.

The Aidan O’Brien’s colt made a successful reappearance in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks ago in the first race of the QIPCO British Champion Series and was a prohibitively priced 4-9 favourite to follow up back on home soil.

His stable companions Lancaster Bomber and Spirit Of Valor gave him a nice lead into the race and while Godolphin’s Thunder Snow did his best to make a race of it, Churchill saw him off by two and a half lengths under Ryan Moore in the rain-softened ground.

Now, he will resume Champions Series action at the royal meeting.

“He’s been such a pleasure to ride from day one,” Moore said. “We went a good gallop and he relaxes so well, but you could just tell he wasn’t really enjoying the ground.

“I had to pick him up and when I asked him, he picked up Christophe [Soumillon, on Thunder Snow] a lot sooner than what I expected him to do.

“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.”

O’Brien was winning the race for the 11th time and has now trained seven of the last 10 winners of the first Classic of the Irish season.

Churchill becomes the fourth Ballydoyle inmate to complete the Guineas double following the previous successes of Rock Of Gibraltar (2002), Henrythenavigator (2008) and Gleneagles (2015).

O’Brien 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 ten furlongs later in the year. He’s so relaxed and chilled.”

Churchill is Evens to add the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot at the expense of the two horses he beat at Newmarket in Barney Roy, who is 3-1, and Al Wukair, who is 7-1.