Supplemented Circus Maximus clings on to land St James's Palace Stakes

Tue 18 Jun 2019

Circus Maximus showed his adaptability when dropping back in trip to land the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Last seen finishing sixth in the Investec Derby at Epsom, the Galileo colt needed to be supplemented at a cost of £45,000 for the Group One contest over a mile.

Having won the Dee Stakes over an extended 10 furlongs before his tilt at Classic glory, it was seen as a bold move by Aidan O’Brien running him over half a mile less.

Wearing blinkers for the first time, Ryan Moore was happy to take a lead off Fox Champion before making his bid for home with two furlongs to run.

As Irish Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain dropped away, the favourite Too Darn Hot became embroiled in a battle with Circus Maximus (10-1).

Cicrus Maximus en route to St James's Palace Stakes glory at Royal Ascot (Focusonracing)
Cicrus Maximus en route to St James's Palace Stakes glory at Royal Ascot (Focusonracing)

Having seen off last year’s champion juvenile, it was his John Gosden-trained stablemate King Of Comedy who flew home to get closest at the line, but Circus Maximus held on by a neck, with Too Darn Hot three-quarters of a length away in third.

O'Brien said: "Derrick (Smith), John (Magnier) and Michael (Tabor) all decided between themselves (to run in this race) and at 11.45am (on the day of supplementary entries) they let us know that they were thinking of doing this and we ran with it.

"It's hard to believe and we're just privileged to be a small part of it.

"It was a big challenge for the horse and it was a very difficult one to deal with - coming back (in trip) like that - and that's why he had the blinkers on, because he didn't have much time to learn."

A philosophical Gosden said: "One ran out of track and the other found the mile too stiff.

"Too Darn Hot ran a very good race, came to win his race and got in front. He's built very powerfully. He looks like a sprinter/miler.

"Frankie (Dettori) said he feels like a Jersey horse and that's what he is. He was champion two-year-old, won the Dewhurst in great style, but stamina wasn't for him today.

"This is a stiff mile and it jut caught him out."

He added of King Of Comedy: "Adam (Kirby) said it was a pity he had to go round. He ran out of track, but ran a blinder. Another 25 yards and he could have won.

"It's interesting. King Of Comedy will go a mile and a quarter, whereas Too Darn Hot needs an easy mile or seven furlongs. The Sussex Stakes will be his target."

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