NEWMARKET, ENGLAND // It was Ryan Moore who summed it up best after Churchill had become Aidan O’Brien’s 21st top-level winner this season with a facile victory in the Dewhurst Stakes.
Churchill was followed home in Britain’s premier juvenile contest by his stablemate Lancaster Bomber to augment O’Brien’s one-two in Friday’s Fillies’ Mile here and his one-two-three in last Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
O’Brien is just four Group 1 wins adrift of the late US training legend Bobby Frankel, who set the record in 2003.
“Aidan would have a few more if he didn’t keep beating himself,” Moore quipped.
It was virtuoso performance from Churchill, a son of sire-of-the-moment Galileo, as Moore had to pull out his mount from a pocket with 300 metres to go. Saeed bin Suroor’s Thunder Snow was out in front under British champion jockey-elect Jim Crowley and with Blue Point and William Buick looming up on the outside Moore had to take action, or at least go down trying.
Moore aimed Churchill in to a gap between the two Godolphin colts and the National Stakes winner took flight and was never caught. Charlie Appleby’s Blue Point failed to stay the 1,400 metres but finished third.
Churchill has now won five on the bounce, and is widely considered to be the most likely winner of next season’s English 2000 Guineas.
“He travelled so easily, it felt like he was going through the motions,” Moore added. “He is such a strong colt, he is a beautiful mover. He would run down a mountain, it wouldn’t bother him.”
This week Newmarket has showcased almost the entire life of a Thoroughbred. Eye-watering sums have exchanged hands at the prestigious Tattersalls yearling sales. This two-day meeting that is backed by Dubai is designed to provide a shop window for juveniles, while former racehorses such as Dubai World Cup winners African Story and Prince Bishop paraded before racing in order to illustrate there is life after being in training.
• Geoffrey Riddle: As Dubawi and other Godolphin horses are proving, there is life after racing
It is easy to forget, however, how potential can fail to mature along this production line.
Last year Godolphin and Coolmore went head-to-head once again with Air Force Blue and Emotionless. Air Force Blue fronted up and produced a mesmerising performance to become O’Brien’s fourth winner of the 1,400-metre contest. Emotionless suffered an injury and has failed to find the winners’ enclosure since. Last week Coolmore announced that Air Force Blue would be retired, having struggled to produced anything like his scintillating success 12 months ago.
Where Air Force Blue is by War Front, the American sire who is not known for precocious juveniles blossoming in to three-year-olds and beyond, Churchill is by Galileo, who has an illustrious history of producing some of the best middle-distance stock in the world.
“He is big and powerful and straightforward,” O’Brien said. “Ryan gave him a great ride. He has always been a special horse.
“There’s tons [up his sleeve] and physically he’s a very imposing horse.
“He’s probably a more imposing two-year-old than we’ve ever trained.”
Earlier on the card Bin Suroor continued his revival when Best Solution bounded clear to win the Group 3 Autumn Stakes.
Bin Suroor’s stables have been ravaged by viruses this season, and the son of Kodiac became just his third winner at Group level in Europe this campaign.
Best Solution, ridden by William Carson, was two lengths clear of Paul Hanagan and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Zainhom.
The winner looks tailor-made for a campaign at Meydan during the winter.
“I want to see how he comes out of the race but we will maybe take him back to Dubai for the Classic races – a trial and the [UAE] Guineas,” the Godolphin trainer said. “We will then see if he is good enough to run in the UAE Derby.”
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