Turf Talk: Churchill primed for first domestic classic of the season

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Churchill is utterly deserving of his short price in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt is a hot favourite for the first domestic Classic of the season, having last year been crowned champion two-year-old.

That said, there are plenty queuing up to take him on in the Guineas, not least because this season’s race looks bang up to scratch.

The opposition will also point towards him having a first outing for 210 days, not to mention the fact he has never been the most electrifying of horses to watch in full flow. Churchill is, however, a thoroughbred that is all about substance over style.

He does not win by far, but, by golly, does he get the job done.

The son of Galileo physically towered above most of his rivals during a juvenile campaign that saw him win five of his seven races, including the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst at this track last autumn.

Such was his stature last year, Churchill perhaps lacks the scope to progress as much as some of the more unexposed sharp-shooters in the field.

But when you are as good as he is, having been there and done it already, that really ought not to be an issue. And even if he is only slightly more forward than last season, that should be enough to win the Guineas.

Whether he ends up in the Derby is a cloudier issue, as he is not exactly a horse with a pedigree to suggest he should be winning those massive races over a mile and a half.

That dream could still be realised, however, as he always seems to finish off his races with stacks left in the locker. To that end, Churchill should get a mile at Newmarket doing proverbial hand-stands.

Perhaps the only issue might be a perceived lack of fitness after having been off the track for so long.

And though many Ballydoyle horses have clearly been in need of a run this spring, one can implicitly trust O’Brien to have Churchill as ready as he can be for the big day.

TURF TALK TIP

DONCASTER: 5.15 Burnt Sugar, 5.50 Mutanaaseq, 6.20 May Sky, 6.50 Get Knotted, 7.20 City Of Joy, 7.50 Codeshare, 8.20 Vuela.

GOODWOOD: 1.35 October Storm, 2.05 Alf Guineas, 2.40 Ice Age, 3.15 Stepper Point, 3.50 Intimation, 4.25 Queen Of Time, 5.00 Moneyoryourlife, 5.30 Arab Moon.

HEXHAM: 5.35 Fattsota, 6.05 Debdebdeb, 8.35 Crackdeloust, 7.05 Tomkevi, 7.35 Againn Dul Aghaidh, 8.05 Golden Town, 8.35 Pekanheim.

NEWMARKET: 1.50 Ballet Concerto, 2.20 Kimberella (next best), 2.55 Seventh Heaven, 3.35 CHURCHILL (NAP), 4.10 Mostahel, 4.45 Khalidi, 5.20 Medieval.

THIRSK: 1.55 Just For The Craic, 2.30 Bogart, 3.05 Liquid, 3.40 Lat Hawill, 4.15 Olivia Fallow, 4.50 The Grey Warrior, 5.25 Seamster.

UTTOXETER: 2.10 Terry The Fish, 2.45 Grand Coureur, 3.20 Azzuri, 3.55 Sego Success, 4.30 Just Milly, 5.05 Big Brother George, 5.40 The Geegeez Geegee.

Trainer Hugo Palmer.

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