Derby favourite Churchill digs deep to take Tyros Stakes
Churchill had to battle to justify his short price in the Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown.
Ante-post favourite for the Investec Derby after his Chesham Stakes success at Royal Ascot, the Aidan O'Brien-trained winner was given a real fright by the once-raced Alexios Komnenos on his outside from the furlong pole.
But in the end the 2-5 market leader dug deep for Ryan Moore to prevail by a neck from the Tommy Stack-trained runner-up, adding his name to a roll of honour that includes the likes of Gleneagles, Rip Van Winkle, New Approach and Teofilo among others.
RaceBets left Churchill unchanged at 16-1 joint-favourite for Epsom and 8-1 second-favourite for the 2000 Guineas.
O'Brien said: "When he gets there he's very babyish and green. We saw that at Ascot. He's a little immature still.
"He got there very easily, but the other horse challenged wide and Ryan said he didn't see him until late.
"I was delighted with the way he travelled through the race."
He went on: "We always thought he was very good. He had a nice run when third at the Curragh and we obviously saw what he did in Ascot.
"We were a little worried in Ascot as they went slow and he got there early and was green. He got to the front today and waited again.
"I think the Futurity is where we will go now."