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Ascot still the aim for Churchill despite Irish Champion disappointment

Ascot still the aim for Churchill despite Irish Champion disappointment

Monday 11 September 2017

Ascot still the aim for Churchill despite Irish Champion disappointment

Ballydoyle maestro targeting Champions Day redemption for dual 2000 Guineas hero.

Aidan O’Brien remains keen on a tilt at the Qipco Champion Stakes with Churchill despite his disappointing display in the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown on Saturday.

The Galileo colt has lost his form since winning the English and Irish versions of the 2000 Guineas in the spring, first failing to fire in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

His runner-up finish behind Ulysses in last month’s Juddmonte International at York was a step in the right direction and he was a warm order to return to the winner’s circle at Leopardstown, but could only finish seventh after meeting traffic problems.

Churchill looks likely to be given a chance to redeem himself at Ascot on October 21.

“He’s good. It was just one of those days and it didn’t pan out properly,” said O’Brien.

“He’s in good form and we’re delighted with him. It was just one of those things.

“We were thinking of going there (Leopardstown) and going to Ascot after. We’ll see how he is, but that was the plan and we didn’t see anything on Saturday to change our minds.”

Aidan O'Brien
Aidan O’Brien (Nigel French/PA )

It was another profitable Irish Champions Weekend for the Ballydoyle handler as he saddled three Group One winners, a Group Two winner and a Group Three winner over the course of the two days.

One O’Brien-trained filly who did not get the chance to strut her stuff was Clemmie after she was taken out of Sunday’s Moyglare Stud Stakes on account of the testing conditions.

The daughter of Galileo, who is ante-post favourite for next year’s 1000 Guineas, has several options for the remainder of the season including the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on September 30.

Clemmie (John Walton/PA)

“I wanted to run Clemmie as it’s a long time since she last ran, but I promised if heavy came into the description we wouldn’t run and it did come into it,” O’Brien added.

“I was mad to run her, but I couldn’t do it to her in the heavy ground as she’s a real good ground filly.

“It’s a pity, as she needed to run for the rest of the year going forward, but we’ll do something with her during the week and go on from there.

“She could go for the Cheveley Park.”

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