Circus Maximus and Terebellum Lead Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot for Automatic Berth into TVG Breeders' Cup Mile
ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND (June 14, 2020) -– Flaxman Holdings, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Circus Maximus (IRE) and Godolphin’s Terebellum (IRE), lead a field of 16 entered for Tuesday’s US$317,000 Queen Anne Stakes (G1) on opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting. The Queen Anne winner will secure an automatic berth into the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races, whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course, in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov 6-7.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the winner of the Queen Anne to start in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, which will be run at 1 mile over the Keeneland turf course. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a minimum travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must already be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program or it must be nominated by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 26 to receive the rewards.
The Queen Anne, run over a straight mile, is the first of four Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races to be conducted during the Royal Ascot meeting. The race will be televised by NBCSN and TVG on Tuesday at approximately 8:50 a.m. ET.
Circus Maximus, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, will be making his first start since a fourth-place finish in last November’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita. In 2019, Circus Maximus established himself among Europe’s top milers when he captured the St James’s Palace Stakes (G1) at the Royal Meeting, holding off King of Comedy (IRE) by a neck. That win came after a sixth-place finish in the 1 ½-mile Investec Derby (G1). After a second-place finish in the Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1) at Goodwood, and a seventh in the Juddmonte International (G1) at York, Circus Maximus earned his second Group 1 score in September by taking the Prix de Moulin (G1) at ParisLongchamp by a nose over Romanised (IRE).
In the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Circus Maximus, the 7-2 third choice, made a bold move from eighth place in the stretch but was edged out for third.
“I think he ran a good race at the Breeders’ Cup,” said Alan Cooper, Flaxman Holdings’ racing manager. “There was a thought he might have finished third with a slightly clearer run but that’s history. We need to focus on going forward and hope he is going to have a good 4-year-old career.”
Flaxman Holdings and the Niarchos Family have won the Breeders’ Cup Mile six times, with Miesque (twice), Spinning World, Domedriver (IRE), Six Perfections (FR) and Karakontie (JPN).
Leading the challengers confronting Circus Maximus is the 4-year-old filly Terebellum (IRE), who will be taking on male rivals for the first time after five starts against her own gender. Trained by John Gosden, this brown daughter of Sea the Stars (IRE) out of the Elusive Quality mare Marvada (IRE), began her season on June 6 with an impressive win in the 1 ¼-mile Dahlia Stakes (G2) at Newmarket. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Terebellum won last year’s Group 2 Nonette Stakes at Deauville. She closed out 2019 with a very good effort against older fillies and mares in the 1 ¼-mile Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1) at Paris Longchamp, fighting for the lead inside the final 200 meters before winding up fifth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.
Sheikh Abdulla Al Khalifa’s Skardu (GB), trained by William Haggas, finished fourth behind Circus Maximus at Royal Ascot last year. A 4-year-old chestnut son of Sharmadal, Skardu, ridden by James Doyle, ran just once more in 2019, finishing fourth as the 2-1 favorite behind Duke of Hazzard (FR) in the Celebration Mile (G2) at Goodwood in August.
“He is in good shape but I am just a bit worried he might be underdone,” said Haggas. “We have had a lot of time with him but he is taking some getting fit. He is fit enough to run. James Doyle has been very happy with his work but my feeling is I am not sure whether he is quite there yet.”
Mrs. Fitri Hay’s 4-year-old Duke of Hazzard, trained by Paul and Oliver Cole, has five wins in 15 starts, including his last three races, all at the one mile distance. Prior to taking the Celebration Mile, the chestnut son of Lope de Vega (IRE) won the listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at Newmarket and the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes (G3) at Goodwood. Duke of Hazzard will be ridden by P.J. McDonald.
One of the veterans in the Queen Anne field is the Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned 7-year-old Mustashry (GB). Trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Dane O’Neill, Mustashry, eight for 18 lifetime, finished seventh in last year’s race after being bumped in the stretch. Prior to the Queen Anne, the bay or brown gelding by Tamayuz (GB), won the 1-mile Lockinge Stakes (G1) at Newbury. He finished 2019 by capturing the 7-furlong Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket in October.
Lightly-raced 4-year-old Fox Chairman (IRE), trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, has not been off the board in four starts. Owned by King Power Racing, the Kingman (GB) colt was second last year to Sangarius (GB), as the 7-2 favorite, in the Hampton Court Stakes (G3) at Royal Ascot. He followed that performance by winning the listed Bet 365 stakes at Newbury in July.
Another group stakes-winning female entered for Tuesday is Mrs. R.J. McCreery’s Billesdon Brook (GB), who won three races last year including the Group 1 Sun Chariot at Newmarket for trainer Richard Hannon. Ridden by Sean Levey, the 5-year-old daughter of Champs Elysees (GB) comes into the race off a second-place finish in the listed 1-mile Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes over the all-weather surface at Kempton on June 3.
Mrs. R.F. Johnson Houghton’s 6-year-old gelding Accidental Agent (GB), the 2018 Queen Anne Stakes winner, also has been entered for trainer Eve Johnson Houghton and rider Charles Bishop.
The Queen Anne is the fourth race to award a Breeders’ Cup Challenge berth this year for the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile. In January, Kantor, Blank, Sarkis & Yutar’s 4-year-old gelding Vardy (SAF) won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse in South Africa to gain the first berth in the division. Peter M. Brant’s 5-year-old Raging Bull (FR) captured the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park in California on May 25, and on June 7, Sunday Racing Co.’s 4-year-old filly Gran Alegria earned an automatic starting position into Mile by taking the Yasuda Kinen (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse.
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships’ races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, and features a total of $35 million in purses and awards. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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