Ladies Church (Churchill) Wins The Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh

Churchill Filly Strikes Late In Group 2 Sprint

Ladies Church (3f Churchill - Rioticism, by Rio De La Plata) earned her place in future Group 1 sprints when winning a thrilling renewal of the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh.

A Stakes winner over the minimum trip as a juvenile, Johnny Murtagh’s charge was taking on older horses for the first time on Saturday. Regular rider Ben Coen positioned the bay in midfield and made headway approaching the final furlong, with his game mount digging deep to lead in the final strides. The daughter of Churchill relegated last year’s winner Mooneista to second, with the pair finishing a length and three quarters clear of Group 2 winning seven-year-old Equilateral in third.

“We knew coming here today that she's a filly that shows plenty of pace,” Murtagh later explained. “She was always going to be better at three. She's learning how to sprint and we're going to be brave with her now for the rest of the season. She's won a Group 2 so it's Group 1s all the way now.”

Ladies Church is owned by Mark Dobbin, having been bought by her trainer and Peter Nolan as a yearling for £160,000. Bred by Dukes Stud and Overbury Stallions, she continues a fantastic season for the first crop of Churchill, led by Vadeni’s Group 1 wins in the Prix du Jockey Club and Coral Eclipse.