Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s 3-year-old homebred Too Darn Hot (GB), under jockey Frankie Dettori, held off Flaxman Stables, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Circus Maximus (IRE) to win Wednesday’s US$1,303,453, one-mile Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1) at Goodwood Racecourse by a half-length, and gained an automatic starting position into the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 86 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, on Nov.1-2.
Too Darn Hot, the 2018 European 2-year-old Champion, trained by John Gosden, becomes the sixth horse to earn a “Win and You’re In” berth into the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile this year, joining Do It Again (SAF), winner of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth, South Africa; Tamburo Di Oro (CHI), who won the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) in Santiago, Chile; Bolo (USA), winner of the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita, Indy Champ (JPN), who captured the Yasuda Kinen (G1) in Tokyo, Japan and Lord Glitters (FR),who won the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot, and finished fifth in today’s Sussex Stakes.
Sussex Stakes Replay
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for Too Darn Hot to start in the TVG Mile. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
Sent off as the even-money favorite in an eight-horse field, Too Darn Hot was reserved in third place behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained Circus Maximus, the 9-2 second choice, while the 3-year-old Phoenix of Spain (IRE) broke sharply under Jamie Spencer and set the pace through the first six furlongs. Ridden by Ryan Moore, Circus Maximus, who defeated Too Darn Hot in the St. James’s Palace (G1) at RoyaI Ascot, forged to the front but was quickly joined by Too Darn Hot to his outside. Just inside the final 100 yards, Too Darn Hot edged away and secured the victory.
Too Darn Hot, who won his sixth race in nine starts, completed the mile in 1:38.57 over a course listed as good.
“He had a good run at this race today,” said Dettori, who won his 11th Group 1 race since May 31. “He had been working well in the build-up to the race and we had him in the best shape we could have him. It was great to reverse the form of Ascot and the race worked out how we wanted. They tried to stretch my stamina today, but I just had too many guns for them.”
The O’Brien-trained 4-year-old filly I Can Fly (GB) finished third, followed by Happy Power (IRE) and Lord Glitters. Phoenix of Spain faded to sixth.
Upon the immediate future for Too Darn Hot, Gosden said: “There are lovely races like the (Prix du) Moulin and the Jacques le Marois, which comes a little soon, and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but also for him, because he is so fast, sprint races. I would not be frightened of running him in a sprint and similarly I would not be frightened of running him in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita, which is around two turns and will be run on fast ground. Seven-furlong horses are suited by that mile there.”
Too Darn Hot was a commanding three-length winner in the seven-furlong Qatar Prix Jean Prat (G1) over the straight course at Deauville in France on July 7 in his previous start. A bay son of Dubawi (IRE) out of Dar Re Mi (GB) by Singspiel (IRE), the Prix Jean Prat was a marked improvement from his third-place finish as the 6-5 favorite in the St. James’s Palace.
Last year, Too Darn Hot went unbeaten in four starts, climaxed by a 2 ¼-length victory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (G1) at Newmarket in October. He began 2019 with two second-place finishes in the 1 3/8-mile Dante Stakes (G2) at York on May 16 and a three-length defeat in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) at the Curragh on May 25.
On the runner-up finish by Circus Maximus, O’Brien said, “You would have to be very happy with that. We were delighted with the run today.”