Churchill is Europe’s champion two-year-old for 2016

Nine times in the last 18 years an Aidan O’Brien horse has topped juvenile listings

Churchill: The colt is as low as 6-4 for 2,000 Guineas glory at Newmarket in May and has been rated on 122 by the European Classifications.  Photograph:  PA Wire.

Churchill: The colt is as low as 6-4 for 2,000 Guineas glory at Newmarket in May and has been rated on 122 by the European Classifications. Photograph: PA Wire.

 

Churchill goes into his classic season confirmed as Europe’s champion two- year-old for 2016.

The colt is as low as 6-4 for 2,000 Guineas glory at Newmarket in May and has been rated on 122 by the European Classifications after a stirring juvenile campaign which included wins at Group One level in both the National Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes.

It is the ninth time in the last 18 years that an Aidan O’Brien-trained horse has topped Europe’s juvenile classifications although Ireland’s top trainer will hope Churchill does better than the 2015 champion, Air Force Blue.

That colt was also successful in the National and the Dewhurst in 2015 but beat only one home when favourite in last year’s Guineas and never won another race.

Hopes are high however Churchill can follow in the footsteps of other Irish juvenile champions such as New Approach who proceeded to Classic glory as three year olds.

“As his namesake once stated, ‘the price of greatness is responsibility,’ so we hope and expect that Churchill will live up to his reputation in 2017,” said the Turf Club’s flat handicapper, Mark Bird.

“Churchill’s final rating of 122 sits just marginally below this century’s par rating for a champion two year old of 123.

“However the progressive nature of his form, allied to his obvious physical scope and impressive pedigree, give rise to hope that his early career may be just the launch pad to greater success,” he added.

O’Brien is responsible for five of the top ten juveniles on the European list with Lancaster Bomber (117) Brave Anna (116) Caravaggio (116) and Rhododendron (116) also figuring.

Juvenile filly

Lady Aurelia

Confirmation that the two best racehorses on the planet will line up in the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in Miami on Saturday night officially came when Arrogate (134) and California Chrome (133) topped the Longines World Thoroughbred Rankings announced on Tuesday.

The pair clashed in November’s Breeders Cup Classic when the Bob Baffert- trained Arrogate emerged best by half a length. Despite that California Chrome was declared America’s ‘Horse of the Year’ for 206 last week. The pair are set to clash again in the world’s richest race this weekend. 

Australian racing’s latest superstar mare, Winx, was the world’s highest rated turf performer on 132 while the French colt Alamanzor, winner of the Irish Champion Stakes in September, is Europe’s top racehorse for 2016 on a mark of 129.

The Arc heroine Found was Ireland’s top runner last year and secured a rating of 124 for her Chantilly performance in October.

Only the Breeders Cup Classic was rated superior to Leopardstown’s Irish Champion Stakes from an average ratings point of view in any race run worldwide in 2016.

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