Trainer Aiden O’Brien has said that he is in no rush to commit Churchill to future targets after ruling the horse out of the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood due to the rain-softened ground.
Churchill, the duel 2000 Guineas hero, disappointed in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot but was due to return last week on Wednesday and take on his elders.
However, after O’Brien checked the rapidly deteriorating conditions, he made the decision to withdraw the three-year-old less than an hour before the race was due to begin.
Speaking at the time he said, “It’s extreme out there now. There are other races coming up for him, but I’ve no idea where he will go. It depends if the lads want to stay at a mile or step him up to a mile and a quarter. If he stays at a mile he will go to France (Prix Jacques le Marois, August 13), if he steps up to a mile and a quarter he will go for the Juddmonte (International, at York on August 23). We came here wanting to run and we’re very disappointed that we’re not running.”
Nonetheless, he remained philosophical and said that there will be other chances for Churchill to run this year and hopefully under far better conditions.
He also spoke about Highland Reel and suggested that the multiple Group One winner may have a second attempt at the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
Highland Reel finished fourth in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot recently and the five-year-old may now revert in distance to a mile and a quarter for the Group One on August 23rd. Last year he finished second behind Postphoned.
O’Brien said, “It was a good run at Ascot, but obviously he likes nice ground and always has. We could possibly look at York as he is in Juddmonte. It is a possible, but we won’t decide for 10 days.”