Churchill out to continue O´Brien´s Group 1 domination

Churchill: Seeking a fifth consecutive victory

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( Churchill out to continue O’Brien’s domination By Lee Mottershead 7:36AM 8 OCT 2016

SUCH is his domination of the sport's big prizes that a sense of deja vu often exists when it comes to Aidan O'Brien – and it exists yet again this afternoon as for the second year running the master of Ballydoyle fields the odds-on favourite for Europe's supreme juvenile championship.

Yesterday, five days after O'Brien's unprecedented 1-2-3 in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the trainer was at it again with a one-two in the Group 1 Dubai Fillies' Mile, where victory took his seasonal tally of Group 1 wins on the Flat to 19.

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Last year, the odds-on Air Force Blue became O'Brien's fourth winner of the Dewhurst.This time the role is assumed by Churchill, who visits the Rowley Mile for the first time already heading the betting for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas and Investec Derby.

O'Brien said: "Churchill has progressed from race to race and we were very happy with his win in the National Stakes last time. Everything has been fine with him since."

Air Force Blue tackled the Dewhurst having posted a decisive victory in the National Stakes. So, too, does Churchill – who has Lancaster Bomber as a pacemaker – but this is arguably a much stronger edition of the Newmarket Group 1, with a number of the sport's most powerful operations represented.

Point the way

Godolphin's two principal Newmarket trainers, Charlie Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor, run Middle Park Stakes second Blue Point and outsider Thunder Snow.

Stamina is the key issue surrounding Blue Point and today's race will go a long way in determining his campaign next season. Appleby said: "There's a big question mark about the trip. He's shown so much natural speed in his races, but while he's fit and well it's time to find out whether he gets it.

"If he stays we have a very serious horse for next year. If he doesn't we'll flag up the Commonwealth Cup as the first big target and work back from there."

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