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ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Flaxman Stables homebred and Coolmore’s Circus Maximus surged late to nip Terebellum in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) on Day 1 of the 2020 Royal Ascot Meet.
The Queen Anne is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Circus Maximus receiving an automatic berth in the Mile at Keeneland this November.
Circus Maximus and Terebellum each raced in the clear after breaking from the barriers, with Ryan Moore aboard the 5/2 stateside favorite Circus Maximus and Frankie Dettori riding the 9/2 second option. Along the rail, Marie’s Diamond was keen to lead, though the bettors’ choices kept him well within striking distance.
Terebellum moved up to take the lead 2 furlongs out, but Circus Maximus stayed with her throughout, refusing to let the filly and Dettori escape. Terebellum was all-out in the late stages, but Circus Maximus’ class helped propel him past her in the shadow of the wire.
Bobbing heads apart, Circus Maximus won the photo finish for the 8-furlong straight turf race with a good to soft going in 1:40.05. The top two were well clear of Marie’s Diamond in third and Roseman in fourth.
“They had their chance to come and beat him, but he battled away and fought all the way,” Moore said. “I am delighted with what he has done today.”
Fifth went to the two-time (2017 and 2018) race champion Accidental Agent, while behind him came Space Traveller, Mohaather, Skardu, Billesdon Brook, Fox Chairman, Mustashry, Escobar, Duke Of Hazzard, Plumatic, and Turjomaan to complete the order of finish. Bless Him was a non-runner.
Circus Maximus is a 4-year-old Galileo colt whose record now stands at 12-5-1-1 and who was making his first start since finishing fourth in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). He won the St James’s Palace at last year’s Royal Ascot by a neck over a pair of runners from John Gosden, who trains Terebellum.
“We were delighted with that performance,” said O’Brien, who won his 71st at a Royal Ascot meet, second-most all time behind Sir Michael Stoute (81). “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 brought back $7.40 to win and $3.40 to place, Terebellum brought back $3.80 to place, and Marie’s Diamond paid $20.60 to place.
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