Churchill (horse)

Last updated
Churchill
Owner Michael Tabor.svg
Racing silks of Michael Tabor
Sire Galileo
Grandsire Sadler's Wells
DamMeow
Damsire Storm Cat
Sex Colt
Foaled31 January 2014 [1]
CountryIreland
Colour Bay
BreederLiberty Bloodstock
Owner Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier
Trainer Aidan O'Brien
Record13: 7-1-2
Earnings$1,847,877
Major wins
Chesham Stakes (2016)
Tyros Stakes (2016)
Futurity Stakes (2016)
National Stakes (2016)
Dewhurst Stakes (2016)
2000 Guineas (2017)
Irish 2,000 Guineas (2017)
Awards
Cartier Champion Two-year-old Colt (2016)
Top-rated European two-year-old (2016)

Churchill (foaled 31 January 2014) is an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse. He was rated the best two-year-old colt in Europe in 2016, winning five of his six races including the Chesham Stakes, Tyros Stakes, Futurity Stakes, National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes. On his three-year-old debut he won the 2000 Guineas and followed up with a second Classic victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Contents

Background

Churchill is a bay colt with a white star and three white socks bred in Ireland by Liberty Bloodstock, a breeding company associated with the Coolmore Stud organisation.

He was sired by Galileo, who won the Derby, Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2001. Galileo is now one of the world's leading stallions and has been champion sire of Great Britain and Ireland eight times so far. His other progeny include Cape Blanco, Frankel, Golden Lilac, Nathaniel, New Approach, Rip Van Winkle, Found, Minding and Ruler of the World. [2] Churchill's dam Meow showed good form as a juvenile in 2010, finishing second in the Queen Mary Stakes and winning the Listed Grangecon Stud Stakes. [3] Meow was a daughter of the outstanding filly Airwave and closely related to the leading sprinter Jwala. [4]

The colt was sent into training with Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle. Like many Coolmore horses, the official details of his ownership have changed from race to race: he has sometimes been listed as being the property of Susan Magnier, while on other occasions he has been described as being owned by a partnership of Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier.

Racing career

2016: two-year-old season

Spring

Churchill made his racecourse debut in a six-furlong maiden race at the Curragh on 22 May in which he was ridden by Ryan Moore and started the 2/1 favourite in an eleven-runner field. After racing in mid-division he stayed on in the closing stages to finish third behind Van Der Decken and Magnification.

Summer

In June he was moved up in class and distance when he was sent to England to contest the Listed Chesham Stakes over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot. Starting the 8/11 favourite against twelve opponents he took the lead two furlongs out and won by half a length from Isomer despite drifting to the left in the closing stages. [5] In July Churchill was moved up to Group Three class for the Tyros Stakes over seven furlongs at Leopardstown Racecourse. He was sent off the 2/5 favourite, but after taking the lead a furlong out he was "strongly pressed" before prevailing by a neck from Alexios Komnenos. [6]

Only three horses appeared to oppose Churchill when the colt started at odds of 1/4 for the Group Two Futurity Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh on 21 August. Ridden by Seamie Heffernan he took the lead inside the final furlong and drew away in the closing stages to win by two lengths from the Jim Bolger-trained Radio Silence. [7] After the race O'Brien commented "He's lazy and doesn't do a lot when he gets to the front, but he quickened nicely to get there. He'll come back here for the National Stakes next month. We think he's a Guineas horse and that he'll get further than a mile. He might get a mile and a half but the way he works you wouldn't be sure about that at this stage". [8]

Autumn

On 11 September, over the same course and distance, Churchill started the odds-on favourite for Ireland's most prestigious race for juveniles, the Group One Vincent O'Brien National Stakes. The best of his six rivals appeared to be the British-trained Mehmas (ridden by Frankie Dettori), whose wins included the July Stakes and Richmond Stakes. Ridden by Moore, Churchill briefly struggled to obtain a clear run before taking the lead in the final furlong and then drawing away to win "comfortably" by four and a quarter lengths from Mehmas. [9] O'Brien said "He's a very exciting horse. He settled and he quickened and I thought that he went like a real miler, but Ryan was adamant that a mile and a quarter would be no problem to him next year either. He can be idle when he hits the front so it was lovely when Frankie's horse eyeballed him and kind of leaned into him up the run in because that's exactly what he wanted. He would have learned a lot today". [10]

Churchill was then sent to England for the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse on 8 October. With Moore again in the saddle he was made the 8/11 favourite against six opponents including South Seas (winner of the Solario Stakes), Blue Point and Rivet. The O'Brien stable's pacemaker Lancaster Bomber took the lead from the start with Churchill restrained in mid-division. After briefly struggling to obtain a clear run the favourite took the lead inside the final furlong and won by one and a quarter lengths from Lancaster Bomber with Blue Point in third place and Thunder Snow in fourth. [11]

2017: three-year-old season

Churchill was favourite for both the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby throughout the winter of 2016/7 and the spring of 2017. Rather than run in any of the recognised trial races, Churchill made his debut as a three-year-old in the 2000 Guineas on 6 May at Newmarket, in which he was accompanied by his stablemates Lancaster Bomber and Spirit of Valor. He was made favourite ahead of nine opponents headed by Barney Roy (Greenham Stakes), Al Wukair (Prix Djebel) and Eminent (Craven Stakes). After tracking the leaders he took the lead approaching the final furlong and won by a length from Barney Roy with Al Wukair and Lancaster Bomber close behind in third and fourth. [12] After the race Moore commented "He has a magnificent mind, he travels, has speed and loads of class. He was always racing comfortably – he was there a little bit early. He always feels like there's more when you ask him", whilst O'Brien, who was winning the race for a record eighth time said "I was very worried about it being his first run. He's a big horse and we knew he would come on for the run. Ryan gave him a lovely ride. Everyone at home was very happy with the horse which is why we took the chance to come first time, so I'm delighted". [13]

Three weeks after his win at Newmarket, Churchill started 4/9 favourite for the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh. Thunder Snow and Lancaster Bomber were again in opposition while the best of the other four runners appeared to be the previously undefeated Irishcorrespondent. Lancaster Bomber set the pace with Churchill settled towards the rear of the field before moving up on the outside in the straight. He took the lead from Thunder Snow approaching the final furlong and drew away in the closing stages to win by two and a half lengths. [14] Ryan Moore commented "He wasn't enjoying the ground so I tried to help him along, but when I asked him he was there". [15]

At Royal Ascot on 20 June Churchill started odds-on favourite as he attempted to extend his winning run in the St James's Palace Stakes. He was restrained in the early stages as Lancaster Bomber set a steady pace but was unable to make any significant progress in the straight and finished fourth behind Barney Roy, Lancaster Bomber and Thunder Snow. After a break of more than two months Churchill returned for the International Stakes at York Racecourse in which he was matched against older horses and moved up in distance to ten and a half furlongs. He was made the 5/2 favourite and raced in third place before making progress in the straight but was beaten two lengths into second place by the four-year-old Ulysses.

Assessment and awards

On 8 November 2016 Churchill was named Champion two-year-old colt at the Cartier Racing Awards. [16] In the official European Classification of two-year-olds for 2016 Churchill was given a rating of 122, making him the best juvenile of the season, one pound ahead of the filly Lady Aurelia and four pounds ahead of the colts Thunder Snow and National Defense. [17]

In the 2017 World's Best Racehorse Rankings, Churchill was rated the twelfth-best horse in the world and the joint-best horse in Ireland. [18]

Pedigree

Pedigree of Churchill (IRE), bay colt, 2014 [1]
Sire
Galileo (IRE)
1998
Sadler's Wells (USA)
1981
Northern Dancer Nearctic
Natalma
Fairy Bridge Bold Reason
Special
Urban Sea (USA)
ch. 1989
Miswaki Mr. Prospector
Hopespringseternal
AllegrettaLombard
Anatevka
Dam
Meow (IRE)
2008
Storm Cat (USA)
1983
Storm Bird Northern Dancer
South Ocean
Terlingua Secretariat
Crimson Saint
Airwave (GB)
2000
Air Express Salse
Ibtisamm
Kangra Valley Indian Ridge
Thorner Lane (Family 19-a) [4]

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References

  1. 1 2 "Churchill pedigree". Equineline. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-05-05.
  2. "Galileo stud record". Racing Post. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
  3. "Meow – Record By Race Type". Racing Post.
  4. 1 2 "Contessina – Family 19-a". Thoroughbred Bloodlines. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  5. "Chesham Stakes result". Timeform. 18 June 2016.
  6. "Tyros Stakes result". Timeform. 21 July 2016.
  7. "Futurity Stakes result". Timeform. 21 August 2016.
  8. David Dew (21 August 2016). "Curragh Churchill boosts Guineas claims with Futurity win". Racing Post . Archived from the original on 10 October 2016.
  9. "National Stakes result". Timeform. 11 September 2016.
  10. Jack Haynes (11 September 2016). "Churchill boosts Classic hopes in National Stakes". Racing Post . Archived from the original on 10 October 2016.
  11. "Dewhurst Stakes result". Timeform. 8 October 2016.
  12. "2000 Guineas result". Racing Post. 6 May 2017.
  13. "Churchill wins 2,000 Guineas to give Aidan O'Brien a record-breaking eighth win". BBC Sport. 6 May 2017.
  14. "Irish 200 Guineas result". Racing Post. 27 May 2017.
  15. "Odds-on favourite Churchill completes double". BBC Sport. 27 May 2017.
  16. "Cartier Racing Awards 2016: Minding named Horse of the Year". BBC. 8 November 2016.
  17. "European 2yo Classification 2016" (PDF). britishhorseracing.com. 24 January 2017.
  18. "The 2017 World Thoroughbred Rankings". International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities. Retrieved 2018-01-23.