Source: Yorkshire Post via Twitter.
Churchill and trainer Aidan O’Brien will be aiming for a strong start to their quest to dominate the flat season in 2017. The Bay Colt has boasted a formidable record in the early stages of his career, but now must deliver on his promise with victories in the biggest races on the calendar. Churchill will have to find his form around the track before the crucial meets of the campaign, having not raced since October last year.
He will have no shortage of challengers, who have used races across the country to build up a rhythm ahead of the hectic part of the season. The three-year-old will return to the track at the 2000 Guineas as one of the leading contenders to secure the win, being backed in the latest horse racing betting odds at 15/8 to claim victory at Newmarket.
He will be eager to begin his 2017 season on the highest of notes, with the Dante Stakes next on the agenda after the Guineas – where Churchill will be looking to join former greats by winning at York. Momentum will be key for the Bay Colt and O’Brien over the course of the season with bigger meets on the horizon in June at the Epsom Downs and Ascot. As a result, extending his winning streak will be imperative in pursuit of greater glory.
Churchill began his career at the European Breeders Fund Maiden, but just missed on a debut win as he was edged out on the final furlong by Van Der Decken and Magnification. To this day it’s the only race where the Bay Colt has failed to claim victory.
His first appearance at Ascot was a success, as although he entered the meet as the favourite, the Irish horse was able to stride to a comfortable win down the stretch ahead of Isomer. The Bay Colt delivered in his next out at Leopardstown with his second victory at the Tyros Stakes, producing a strong run to the finish to beat out Alexios Komnenos by a neck.
Churchill’s form was going from strength to strength signalled by his best outing at Curragh where he blew away the rest of the field with an excellent run to win the Futurity Stakes. The National Stakes was a statement win for the Bay Colt, highlighting his dominance at the top of the field. Jockeyed by Ryan Moore the Irish horse cruised to victory by 4¼ lengths ahead of Mehmas and Frankie Dettori.
He secured his fifth straight win at Newmarket in the Dewhurst Stakes in October, with another flawless performance, defeating Lancaster Bomber – who will be one of his challengers over the course of the season.
Churchill has the talent to enjoy an extremely successful season, with the possibility of matching Golden Horn’s achievements in 2015 of winning the Dante Stakes, Epsom Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. His early season form will be crucial to beginning on the right note and his performances must be of a high standard at the Guineas and the Dante Stakes.
Should Churchill continue his winning streak at both meets, then it would be no surprise to see the Bay Colt enjoying further success at the biggest races later in the campaign.