News and STORIES

Circus Maximus Takes Queen Anne Over Terebellum

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Wednesday June 17, 2020
The Queen Anne Stakes (G1) on Tuesday saw a battle between two of the top owners and their horses through the final furlong.

Circus Maximus was able to edge out Terebellum in the exciting race.

The Queen Anne is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, and Circus Maximus was awarded an automatic berth into the Nov. 7 TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T) at Keeneland. Last year, he finished fourth in the Mile at Santa Anita Park.

The race ran without spectators, and names such as owner Sheikh Mohammed and trainer Aidan O'Brien were absent.

"Ascot is usually a busy week for us as we go there and back, so it's brilliant to be able to see all the preliminaries and hear everything that everyone has to say," O'Brien said. "We have a great team of people over there. We couldn't be happier really. We're very lucky to have so many special people."

The Lead-Up

Leading up to the Queen Anne, Circus Maximus took the St. James's Palace Stakes (G1) 12 months back. Just 17 days before that, he finished sixth in the Investec Derby (G1). 

With his performances, including a victory in the 2019 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1), Circus Maximus has proved his ability as a miler.

"I think he is probably an underestimated horse," said O'Brien from Ballydoyle.

Dettori had not brought Royal Ascot's success to Godolphin since 2012. 

The Running

Terebellum tracked Circus Maximus right out of the gate, and he was able to take the lead just over a furlong from home. However, Maximus took it back right before the finish and won by a head. 

Marie's Diamond finished three lengths back in third.

"That's him exactly," said O'Brien. "He's like a fighter. If he doesn't get his blood up, then he doesn't perform. He can be quite lazy, so he needs the fast tempo of a mile. He loves getting eyeballed. He's a very good horse.

"He is very tough, he travels, quickens, and then toughs it out. He is unbelievable really. Really, he is a trademark Galileo with loads of speed. His best form is over a mile, which makes him more valuable and interesting and important."

According to O'Brien, the Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1) is the next target for the horse. On the other end, Terebellum has a variety of options. She came into the Ascot after taking the Betfair Dahlia Fillies' Stakes (G2) over 10 furlongs a little over a week back.

"She ran a great race," said Gosden. "They didn't go any pace, which probably played against her as she gets a mile and a quarter. She hit the front, and the other one just came back on the run to the line under a rousing ride."

Eve Johnson Houghton's Accidental Agent had a 33-1 upset two years ago, refused to start last year, and then finished fifth this year. 

"I'm really thrilled," she said. "I think he possibly blew up — if he hadn't, he would have been third. He definitely has another group race in him, maybe a group 2 or 3, but what he really loves is a fast gallop, which he didn't get here."

Belmont Stakes

Over in the United States, trainer Bill Mott and Pam and Martin Wygod's Modernist is pointed toward Saturday's $1 million Belmont Stakes (G1). 

The field for the event is now up to nine horses.

According to Mott, Modernist was doing well on Tuesday, following a bullet :59 1/5 five-furlong work last Saturday at Belmont.

Modernist is a son of Uncle Mo and is coming off a third-place finish in the March 21 Louisiana Derby (G2).
The race covered 1 3/16 miles, which is now a sixteenth-of-a-mile longer than the altered 1 1/8-mile Belmont Stakes.