05/27/2017 1:50PM

Churchill easily wins Irish 2000 Guineas


Churchill added a second classic to his sparking portfolio Saturday at The Curragh when he proved much the best in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas.

Three weeks ago Churchill won the English 2000 Guineas by one length, and on Saturday he was 2 1/2 lengths better than Thunder Snow in the Irish equivalent. Irishcorrespondent, who appeared to be going nowhere three furlongs out, rallied mildly for a distant third.

It was a far, far smoother experience for Thunder Snow than his last start, the Kentucky Derby, where something set Thunder Snow off just after the start, causing him to buck wildly and quickly be pulled up by Christophe Soumillon.

Thunder Snow appeared the total professional Saturday and had the lead with less than a quarter-mile to run, but Churchill, coming up on Thunder Snow’s outside, collared him before the furlong marker and steadily pulled clear to score a decisive victory. Jockey Ryan Moore said Churchill prevailed despite disliking rain-soaked ground that was labeled yielding-to-soft.

Churchill was timed in 1:40.46 going one mile around a very gentle right-handed bend, the slow time evidence of the testing course. The win was his sixth in a row and fourth Group 1.

:: Enjoy news and analysis from DRF? Get handicapping analysis, real-time coverage, special reports, and charts. Unlock access with DRF Plus.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien won the Irish 2000 Guineas for a remarkable 11th time. Churchill, who would seem a likely runner in the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, is by Galileo and out of the Storm Cat mare Meow.

Earlier on the card, soft-turf-loving 9-year-old Gordon Lord Byron won the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths over Only Mine. Gordon Lord Byron was making the 73rd start of an extremely long and productive career.

*** At Haydock Park in England, Priceless won his first Group race by taking the Group 2 Temple Stakes at five furlongs by a half-length over Goldream.