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Aidan O’Brien’s Circus Maximus (4/1f) recorded a second Group 1 success at Royal Ascot when winning the Queen Anne Stakes.
The son of Galileo battled hard in the final furlong, coming out on top by a head from Terebellum (5/1), to add this race to the St James’s Palace Stakes he won at the Berkshire venue in 2019.
In a sustained duel inside the final furlong, Circus Maximus and Terebellum pulled clear of the rest of the field, with Marie’s Diamond, the early pace-setter, three lengths back in third.
Aidan O’Brien, recording his 71st Royal Ascot success, said of the winner:
“We were delighted with that performance. Circus Maximus is very tough, he travels with a lot of speed, then quickens and then toughs it out. It was unbelievable, really. Ryan gave him an unbelievable ride and we are delighted. Circus Maximus is a very good horse. He is a Galileo from a good family and has a great pedigree. He is tough, has pace and is brave – he is a trademark Galileo.”
The winning handler, who nominated the Sussex Stakes as the next probable target for Circus Maximus, continued:
“I think a mile is his trip. The problem is he is lazy and that is why he wears blinkers. It is only when the tempo is really high that he actually races so I think a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half trips don’t allow him to focus. So, I would imagine he would stay at a mile. Like a fighter, if you don’t get his blood up, he doesn’t really bother. The pace of the mile races allows him to get his blood up.”
Jockey Ryan Moore, who was having his 59th Royal Ascot victory said:
“He is a very straightforward horse. He won the St James’s Palace here last year and won the Moulin at Longchamp. He has been a really good horse and this is his third Group 1. They had their chance to come and beat him, but he battled away and fought all the way. I am delighted with what he has done today.”
1.50pm Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
1 Circus Maximus Aidan O’Brien 4-9-00 Ryan Moore 4/1 Fav
2 Terebellum John Gosden 4-8-11 Frankie Dettori 5/1
3 Marie’s Diamond Mark Johnston 4-9-00 Joe Fanning 40/1
Winner owned by Flaxman Stables/Sue Magnier/Michael Tabor/Derrick Smith
Non-Runner: 2 Bless Him (Going)
Time: 1m 40.05s
Distances: hd, 3