Smart Churchill enhances 2,000 Guineas claims
Smart Churchill enhances 2,000 Guineas claims By David Dew 2:50PM 21 AUG 2016
Report: Curragh, Sunday
Galileo European Breeders Fund Futurity Stakes (Group 2), 7f, 2yo only
HE ARRIVED at the Curragh as the ante-post second favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas, and Churchill certainly did his Classic claims no harm with a comprehensive success in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes.
The Galileo colt was sent off at 1-4 after stablemate Capri was declared a non-runner and he duly made it three wins from four starts, following up success in Listed and Group 3 company.
Churchill sat in third place for the first part of the race as Arcada made the running with O'Brien's Lancaster Bomber in second. He made his move under Seamie Heffernan at the two-furlong pole, hit the front a furlong out and steadily pulled clear of Radio Silence to score by two lengths.
O'Brien was winning the race for the third time in four years and connections will be hoping their latest Futurity winner can emulate Glenegales, who scored in 2014 before going on to dual Guineas success and landing the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The trainer said: "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."
Most bookmakers left Churchill unchanged at around 8-1 for the Newmarket Classic.