Not every horse given a name that evokes images of excellence, power or greatness lives up to its billing, but in the case of Churchill, the equine namesake has already bagged a championship title and set up the likelihood of an influential future, both on the track and at stud.
He was beaten on his debut, finishing a two and a half-length third over six furlongs at the Curragh in late May, but then reeled off five-in-a-row, including the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, and, on a mark of 122, he was crowned Europe's juvenile champion of 2016.
He beat Mehmas, who did not seem to stay the trip, by four and a quarter lengths in the first of those top-level wins, and those who followed him home in the Dewhurst were subsequent Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Lancaster Bomber, Group 2 scorer Blue Point, subsequent Group 1 stars Thunder Snow and Rivet, and subsequent Group 1-placed South Seas.
All of Churchill's wins have been in blacktype company and over seven furlongs and, one as one would expect, he is a short ante-post favourite for the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
He is a son of the phenomenal Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) so should have no trouble with the mile, but anyone who is thinking of backing him for the Group 1 Investec Derby, for which he is also ante-post favourite, may wish to pause.
It is not impossible that he will stay that distance, but his is a family of sprinters and milers and that raises both strong doubt about his ability to go beyond 10 furlongs and a chance that the mile is where he is will prove best.
Churchill is trained by Aidan O'Brien, he was bred by Liberty Bloodstock, and he is out of the Group 3 Grangecon Stud Stakes winner and Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes runner-up Meow (by Storm Cat), a filly who showed more speed and precocity than either of her best two siblings.
Orator (by Galileo) won a listed contest over a mile at Nantes and a minor contest over a quarter-mile farther, and Aloof (by Galileo) got her Group 3 success at nine and a half furlongs at Gowran Park and multiple pattern placings from eight to 10 to and a half furlongs.
Their dam is Airwave (by Air Express), whose Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes victory gave her the title of champion two-year-old filly in England in 2002. She went on to add the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Sandown, she was runner-up in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Ascot and third in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket.
She left Henry Candy's team and joined the Aidan O'Brien stable at the age of five and, on the second of three starts from that base, she won the Group 2 Ridgewood Pearl Stakes over a mile at the Curragh, so she stayed farther than her tragically ill-fated half-sister Jwala (by Oasis Dream).
That filly was all about speed, all five of her wins came over the minimum trip, and her finest hour came with Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes success at York. A few weeks later, on her penultimate start, she finished one and three-quarter lengths fourth to Maarek in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp.
Their unraced half-sister Vasilia (by Dansili) has produced three blacktype earners. Lasilia (by Acclamation) earned hers over five furlongs as a juvenile, and Dream Of Dreams (by Dream Ahead), who was runner-up to Sir Dancealot in the Listed Rockingham Stakes over six furlongs at York on his final start last season, finished third to Medicine Jack in the Group 2 Railway Stakes over the same trip at the Curragh several months before.
The most prolific of the trio is Silverheels (by Verglas), a five-time winner over a mile and who was placed in both the Group 2 Superlative Stakes and Group 3 Solario Stakes as a juvenile.
Airwave also has an unraced half-sister of interest, mainly because her two successful offspring have notched up a total of 18 wins between them. They are a long way below even stakes class, but Frequency (by Starcraft) has won eight times over six furlongs and three races over seven, while all seven wins for Sloop Johnb (by Bahamian Bounty) have come over five furlongs.
Churchill is clearly an exciting prospect and it is going to be fascinating to see what path his career takes. He looks like being a top-class miler in the making, one who may stay 10 furlongs rather than being a Derby colt, and while the latter is not impossible, the amount of speed throughout the distaff side of his family makes success at Epsom seem unlikely.