Royal Ascot Day One: Circus Maximus Takes Queen Anne Thriller

The 2020 Royal Ascot meeting kicked off on Tuesday afternoon, run without spectators for the first time in history due to the ongoing effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore captured the first Group 1 of the five-day meeting in a thriller when Circus Maximus edged the John Gosden-trained Terebellum at the line to win the Queen Anne Stakes.

It looked as if Frankie Dettori would once again be center stage at Royal Ascot as he coaxed Terebellum to the front around a furlong and a half out. However, Circus Maximus’s stamina edge came into play 50 yards out as he dived past the Godolphin filly to win by a nose.

“They had their chance to come and beat him, but he battled away and fought all the way,” Moore said. “We’re very happy that we are here racing, the [lack of crowd] does detract from it all, but that is the way of the world at the moment.”

The Queen Anne was Moore’s 59th win at Royal Ascot, and the second for the 4-year-old son of Galileo, who won the G1 St. James’s Palace Stakes last June. The win also gave O’Brien his 150th Group 1 victory in the U.K.

“We were delighted with that performance,” O’Brien said. “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 edges out Terebellum in an absolute thriller in the Queen Anne Stakes 🏆

Aidan O’Brien v John Gosden

Ryan Moore v Frankie Dettori

It doesn’t get much better than this#RoyalAscot pic.twitter.com/eyjLsOVxpE

— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) June 16, 2020

The first race of the Royal Meeting, the Class 2 Buckingham Palace Handicap, went to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Motakhayyel for trainer Richard Hannon and jockey Jim Crowley.

“It’s great. They’ve done so well to have the meeting,” said Hannon, who recorded his sixth win at Royal Ascot. “The fact that the trainers are the only ones here – it’s exactly the same. It is still Royal Ascot. There aren’t 60,000 people here, but maybe there are more people at home watching and paying attention than there ever have been. It’s fantastic, in what has been a very gloomy few months. It looks like sport is coming back, in the right way, racing is adapting and we are showing that we can adapt to new regulations and so on.”

The Queen Anne was the day’s second race.

In the third race of the day, the G2 Ribblesdale Stakes, Frankie Dettori and John Gosden teamed up to win impressively with the 3-year-old Frankel filly Frankly Darling. It was another milestone victory, with Gosden sending out his 50th winner at the Royal Meeting.

Pyledriver jumped up to upset the Group 2 King Edward II Stakes, giving trainer William Muir his second Royal Ascot winner, 18 years apart. Ridden by Martin Dwyer, the 3-year-old son of Harbour Watch kept on strongly toward the line to pay $41.80 in the American pools. The colt was purchased for just £10,000 (US$12,624), according to the Ascot Twitter page.

The post Royal Ascot Day One: Circus Maximus Takes Queen Anne Thriller appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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