'I give him a very good chance of getting the mile and a half'
Is Churchill the next Derby winner?
Michael Bell, trainer Galileo has been consistently rewriting the record books as a stallion and, despite having such a speed-dominated distaff side to his pedigree, I give Churchill a very good chance of getting a mile and a half without it necessarily being his optimum trip in the long term.
Karl Burke, trainer If he isn’t, I would say the winner will be stabled in Ballydoyle somewhere! There is some question mark over the trip for Churchill, but they seem confident he’ll get it and he’s obviously a very classy horse who will come on for the run.
James Knight, Coral odds compiler No. I’d love to see him have a go, but the vibes seem to suggest that, once again, commercial considerations will win the day over sporting adventure with a 2,000 Guineas winner. I think he’ll stick to a mile before stepping up to ten furlongs later in the year.
Billy Lee, jockey All options are open to him but I don’t think he would have any bother staying the Derby trip. He’s a very athletic horse and I thought he looked like he even needed the run in the Guineas and that will have knocked the edge off him. He looks like a horse who will improve throughout the season and he could well go for the Derby, and if he did he would be hard to beat.
David Redvers, Qatar Racing manager No. He has too much speed so I find it hard to imagine he will stay a mile and a half at Epsom. Possibly the shorter trip of the French Derby. However he was a very impressive winner and I was blown away by him as an individual.
Which of the 2,000 Guineas vanquished appeals to you most?
Michael Bell Not very original but the second home Barney Roy looks to have a bright future. He clearly did not handle the descent from the bushes which catches a lot of horses out and will be seen to better effect with that experience under his belt. The Ballydoyle team worked the race to perfection and Churchill was the beneficiary of a tactical masterclass.
Karl Burke I thought Barney Roy ran a very good race and is sure to have a strong chance at Royal Ascot – the Hannons have a great record there. And you’d have to follow Al Wukair in Group 1s in France as he didn’t get the run of the race but his trainer said he’d be in the first three and he was right.
James Knight Barney Roy could still prove to be the best horse in the race. He took a bad step coming into the Dip and was inconvenienced by both Spirit Of Valor and Lancaster Bomber, meaning he had to make his challenge well away from Churchill, who enjoyed a perfect trip. I wouldn’t give up on Dream Castle, either – he could be a top-class sprinter in the making.
Billy Lee I suppose you would have to be impressed with Barney Roy in second. He will be interesting in something like an Irish Guineas or a St James’s Palace Stakes further down the line. He’s a very good horse, but I would say he would struggle to turn the tables with Churchill.
David Redvers Barney Roy would be the one, although I’d be very surprised if the placed horses aren’t Group 1 winners in their own right this season and I do still see Eminent as the middle-distance horse to take out of the race. Had Barney Roy been in Churchill’s position two furlongs out, the roles might have been reversed.
Have we seen the King’s Stand winner in Marsha?
Michael Bell She will have a great chance at Ascot. It was a very impressive performance with a penalty and she will be a tough nut to crack.
Karl Burke If the ground is fast she is going to be one of the favourites as she was very impressive. She travelled really well for a filly having her first run of the season and it was a fine effort under a penalty.
James Knight If she runs to the same level at Ascot, yes. I was having a chuckle when one firm put Marsha in as 9-2 favourite for the Palace House in the week as I thought that was an appalling price given she had to carry a 7lb penalty. But maybe whoever came up with that was inspired – it was a huge performance
Billy Lee She came over to Ireland a couple of times and barely won and got beat - but only because they didn’t go quick enough for her. She is a very fast filly and I think she is going to be very hard to beat in the King’s Stand if she gets there in full health.
David Redvers She is the most likely winner. She has proved she can do it on fast ground and has clearly got heaps of speed. Saturday was a huge effort and I can’t see who is going to beat her.
Would you back Rhododendron to reverse the form with Winter if they meet again?
Michael Bell There is no doubt Rhododendron had her momentum checked at a crucial time when the race was unfolding but Winter travelled very strongly and showed a decisive and ultimately race-winning turn of foot and was the best filly on the day. I would be in the Winter camp in a rematch over a mile.
Karl Burke It depends on the trip. If they were stepping up in distance I’d back Rhododendron, but at a mile I’d fancy Winter to win again. I thought she won on merit in the Guineas and was very impressive.
James Knight Would depend on the prices, but Winter has the feel of being a Homecoming Queen as opposed to a Minding and I’d expect Rhododendron to prove much the better filly this season. Winter was fit from a prep race and was probably seen to maximum effect, whereas Rhododenron was obviously better than the result and will improve on this.
Billy Lee No. I was delighted to see Wayne Lordan win the race on Winter as he is my best friend in racing, but I don’t think it was a fluke. I think the best filly won on the day. Rhododendron might have been unlucky in running but Winter travelled really well into the race and won going away. I was impressed with her and I think she would uphold the form.
David Redvers Rhododendron had no luck in running and needs further. Winter is out of a very fast mare who won the Wokingham. Again the Galileo cross with a sprinter mare has worked. As such they may never meet again but, yes, Rhododendron didn’t have the run of the race.
Give us another to follow from the weekend action
Michael Bell Central Square ran a fine race in defeat off a rating of 104 in the 1m1f handicap at Newmarket on Saturday and looks one to keep on the right side in a race like the Wolferton at Ascot.
Karl Burke I thought Kit Marlowe ran very well in the two-year-old race at Newmarket and is one for six-furlong races later on. He looks a big, scopey horse who will improve through the season.
James Knight Clive Cox’s Crafty Madam finished second on merit to a Godolphin hotpot at Doncaster, but she is one to follow. She is from a cracking sprinting family (being a half-sister to Profitable and Ridge Ranger) who all improve with age and this was a really encouraging effort at this stage in her development.
Billy Lee I rode in the Derrinstown Derby Trial and I think Douglas Macarthur did it well. He went a good gallop and kept going and actually looked like he was well on top at the line. I would say he would run a big race in the Irish Derby.
David Redvers Mile handicap second Son Of The Stars is the one to take out of Saturday’s racing. He didn’t handle the track, stumbling in the Dip and will be an exciting horse for the Britannia in which he will get more pace and will handle the Ascot track much better.
Who do you fancy for Wednesday’s Chester Cup?
Michael Bell It is not an easy race to pick the winner of and even more difficult before we know the draw. However Sea Of Heaven stays the trip well and is still on a very workable mark.
Karl Burke Sir Mark Prescott has not had many runners this year but the ones he’s run have been in good form so his Sea Of Heaven will do for me.
James Knight Seventeen-runner staying handicaps around Chester prior to the draw would go straight into my punting Room 101 so I’d probably pass at this stage. Come the day I’d be looking for something drawn low that can race handily – at least you should get a run for your money that way.
Billy Lee It’s tricky. Chester is a track that favours front-runners and you need a bit of luck. If Golden Spear takes up the engagement you would have to say he’d have a good chance, although he he tends to be dropped in a bit. He’s a horse who has been knocking on the door and was a good winner of the November Handicap back in October so he would need to be respected.