PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Punters keen to give Churchill their Epsom vote have been advised to stay patient by Aidan O’Brien, who revealed an Investec Derby decision will not be made for at least a week.
Superstar juvenile Churchill proved a mile was well within his compass when winning the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday, a performance O’Brien viewed as encouraging with regards tackling the world’s most celebrated Flat race.
Coolmore’s Classic hero is Derby favourite, with his price ranging between 3-1 and 5-1, but connections also have the option of staying at a mile for the Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes.
O’Brien said: “When he gets back into full work we’ll have a chat with the lads and come up with a plan.
“He seems to be fine and travelled home well, as did the rest of our Newmarket horses. That was his first time up to a mile and he seemed to be fine at that.
“You wouldn’t say he won’t get further with the way he did it in the Guineas. When you go up to a mile and a half in the Derby you never know until you actually do it, so it’s very hard to say at this point, but he did it well on Saturday.”
Derrinstown trio impress
Ballydoyle’s hunt for more Derby contenders stepped up a notch on home soil on Sunday as Douglas Macarthur accounted for stablemates Yucatan and Capri in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and all three colts remain in the Derby picture.
O’Brien said: “We were very happy with Douglas Macarthur, Yucatan and Capri.
“We felt all three of them ran solid races and they’re still very much in the Derby programme. We didn’t see anything that suggested anything different at the moment anyway.”
O’Brien added it would be a similar story for 1,000 Guineas winner Winter and runner-up Rhododendron for the Oaks, stating his intention to step the latter up in trip.
He said: “The next week or ten days will tell us a lot with Winter and Rhododendron as well.
“Rhododendron ran very well in defeat and has the option of the Irish 1,000 Guineas or the Oaks at Epsom.
“This year she probably wouldn’t be able to do the two because both races are very close together.
“We always thought she would stay much further than a mile. She even stayed a mile well as a two-year-old, so there’s no reason why she wouldn’t step up in trip.”
O’Brien reported Minding to be on track for the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on May 28, while Seventh Heaven is likely to run in the Coronation Cup on June 2.
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