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Churchill into battle: Irish Champion option for Juddmonte second

Churchill (right) winning the battle with rival Barney Roy before losing the war to Ulysses
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Churchill's next run could be in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes according to trainer Aidan O'Brien after the colt's first effort over ten furlongs resulted in a creditable second place in the Juddmonte International at York last Wednesday.

Connections would have been pleased with that effort behind Ulysses with Churchill having previously run below par in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

O'Brien said: "Churchill seems to be in good form. We have our eye on the Irish Champion Stakes, but it's a possible rather than being written in stone."

He added: "We haven't really decided what we'll do with him next –that'll be over the next five or six days – but we were happy with his run and it was his first try over a mile and a quarter. We'd have preferred if the rain hadn't arrived but he ran a good race."

O'Brien is usually well represented in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in which he saddled the first three home last year, and Churchill is quoted at between 12-1 and 50-1 for Europe's most valuable contest, though whether the son of Galileo can go a mile and a half remains to be seen.

"We'll look at where we're going next before thinking about later in the autumn," added O'Brien. "We have one eye on Leopardstown but we'll see how things go over the next week."

Churchill is general 7-4 favourite for the Irish Champion, though only a handful of firms have priced the September 9 Group 1 showpiece.

We were happy with his run and it was his first try over 1m2f. We'd have preferred if the rain hadn't arrived but he ran a good race
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