Sussex Stakes preview: Circus Maximus value at Glorious Goodwood

14th September 2021

2019 Sussex Stakes preview includes Royal Ascot winner Circus Maximus (left)

The feature race on day two of Glorious Goodwood is the Group 1 Sussex Stakes over a mile (15:35), and Circus Maximus looks value to follow-up on his Royal Ascot success this Wednesday.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has won this race five times before, the three-year-old Galileo colt bounced back to form in a big way last time out.

Circus Maximus took the St James’s Palace Stakes by a neck when lasting home ahead of King Of Comedy. He also had the re-opposing Too Darn Hot a further three-quarters of a length in-behind.

Although the third horse has come out and been very impressive dropping back in trip, rain is forecast in the area throughout Tuesday.

If the thundery showers do hit Goodwood, then this famously easy mile may take more getting than usual.

Circus Maximus stays further as demonstrated when winning on good-to-soft at the Chester May Festival on reappearance.

That Dee Stakes form has since been franked by the runner-up Mohawk landing a Group 3 at Leopardstown.

Although Circus Maximus didn’t stay the Epsom Derby trip, a mile with potential cut in the ground is no problem.

At the odds on offer, and given the likely conditions, he appeals over Too Darn Hot. Circus Maximus is 5/2 with Bethard for the Sussex Stakes under Ryan Moore.

Too Darn hot the obvious danger

After showing blistering speed when winning comfortably at Deauville in France last time out, Too Darn Hot heads the betting here.

Trained by John Gosden, who has won the Sussex Stakes before with Kingman, this Dubawi colt was champion juvenile last season.

Nothing went right with Too Darn Hot this spring, however. He missed the 2000 Guineas and was held a length by Telecaster in the Group 2 Dante at York.

Connections then turned Too Darn Hot out again too quickly and he filled the same spot behind the re-opposing Phoenix Of Spain in the Irish 2000 Guineas just nine days later.

Gosden admitted that was a mistake. Too Darn Hot then got outpaced on the loose top surface in the St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot when third to Circus Maximus.

Rain is a clear negative for him, however much pace he showed on good ground when landing the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat last time out.

Too Darn Hot was sent off odds-on and justified that with a superb turn of foot, scoring by three lengths in the 7f contest. This is a far more competitive race for the grade.

With handler Gosden and regular jockey Frankie Dettori both in terrific form, however, Too Darn Hot commands a ton of respect but is plenty short enough at 5/4 with Ladbrokes and opposed in the Sussex Stakes on that basis.

Better expected from Phoenix Of Spain

The third three-year-old that’s prominent in the market is Irish 2000 Guineas hero Phoenix Of Spain.

Like Too Darn Hot, Charlie Hills’ charge wasn’t seen to best effect on the ground at Royal Ascot when trailing in a disappointing sixth.

Phoenix Of Spain weakened in the final furlong of what admittedly is a much stiffer mile than here.

The grey Lope De Vega colt has juvenile form lines that tie in very closely with Too Darn Hot and Circus Maximus.

Each on their day has proved capable of beating the other, so conditions really are going to play their part in the Sussex Stakes.

All the three-year-olds get 8lb weight-for-age from their elders, putting them at a distinct advantage here. Phoenix Of Spain wants a sounder surface, and he’s not certain to get that.

This is reflected in odds of 6/1 with Betfair here, but it’d be no surprise off these favourable terms to see him give a better account of himself at this venue if it doesn’t get too soft underfoot.

Jersey Stakes seventh Happy Power, meanwhile, completes the three-year-olds in the Sussex Stakes. Andrew Balding’s King Power Racing owned runner needs to make a big step up on that to be involved in the finish here.

Although a winner at Listed level, his Royal Ascot run leaves him with plenty to find with Too Darn Hot on a line through the Jersey runner-up Space Blues.

Happy Power was four lengths behind that one and he in turn was beaten three lengths by Gosden’s colt at Deauville.

Lord Glitters the Sussex Stakes each-way value

The best of the older horses here looks to be Lord Glitters. Although the joint-eldest in the eight-runner field, the six-year-old David O’Meara trained gelding comes into Goodwood as a Group 1 winner.

Lord Glitters scooped big race success at Royal Ascot with victory by a neck in the Queen Anne Stakes from old rival Beat The Bank.

The gallant and ill-fated runner-up advertised this form with Group 2 victory at Ascot in which he was fatally injured.

As Lord Glitters also finished half-a-length runner-up in the Queen Anne last year and a two lengths third in this 12 months ago, he has claims of hitting the frame on the pick of his form.

He also ran a fine race at Meydan in the Group 1 Dubai Turf on World Cup night on reappearance when beaten 1 3/4 lengths by Japanese sensation Almond Eye.

Lord Glitters outran his starting price of 22/1 and goes really well for jockey Danny Tudhope. The in-form rider has won three times and been placed on as many other occasions from seven career starts on him.

Taking all that into account, odds of 10/1 with Unibet for Lord Glitters in the Sussex Stakes look a bit of each-way value.

Giving 8lb weight-for-age is no easy task, however, but if anyone can capitalise on one or other of the three-year-olds disappointing, it may be him. Lord Glitters could continue a fine recent run for older horses in this race.

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