A start in next month’s Investec Derby moved a step closer for Churchill after he lived up to his big reputation with victory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas over 1600m at Newmarket, the first classic of the 2017 flat season.

Twelve months after seeing odds-on favourite Air Force Blue flop in the same race, Churchill gave trainer Aidan O’Brien a record eighth success in the Group One prize as he showed the same sort of determination for which his great namesake was celebrated..

Sharply away, the 6-4 favourite was soon in the slipstream of stablemate Lancaster Bomber who, alongside Law And Order, made much of the early running.

Churchill launched his challenge at the cut away, with Ryan Moore driving his mount out to take victory by a length from Barney Roy with Al Wukair third.

Churchill was left unchanged at 6-1 for the Derby with Paddy Power and as a son of Galileo, connections feel the June 3 event at Epsom is certainly an option.

O’Brien said: “It was brilliant and I’m delighted. We were a bit nervous coming here with him. He is a big horse and it was his first run and it was a very competitive race.

“Donnacha (O’Brien) does all the work with him. Everyone was very happy with him and that was what was giving us confidence at home. Ryan said, going out, if the pace was not quick, he was going to be handy and that if the pace was going to be fast, he was going to take his time.

“He is a big, imposing horse with an unbelievable mind. He is very relaxed and when we were tacking up, his demeanour was very good. He was very confident and in no way anxious about anything.

“I would think he is every bit as good as the other 2000 Guineas winners we have had.”

-from Irish Times.
Photo: The Independent.