Circus Maximus dug deep to land the 2020 Queen Anne Stakes and record a second Group 1 success at Royal Ascot.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained four-year-old had won the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2019.
The son of Galileo, 4/1 favourite, had to battle hard in the final furlong under Ryan Moore, coming out on top by head from Terebellum (5/1) after a sustained duel inside the final furlong. The pair drew clear, with Marie’s Diamond three lengths away in third.
Aidan O’Brien was recording his 71st Royal Ascot success and said: “We were delighted with that performance. 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.
“I think he has probably been a bit underestimated. He is a very solid horse and all his best form has been over a mile and that makes him all the more valuable and interesting. He travels very strongly and then loves getting eyeballed. He is a very good horse.
“I think a mile is his trip. The problem is he is lazy and that is why he wears blinkers. It is only when the tempo is really high that he actually races so I think a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half trips don’t allow him to focus. So, I would imagine he would stay at a mile.
“Like a fighter, if you don’t get his blood up, he doesn’t really bother. The pace of the mile races allows him to get his blood up.”
Moore said: “He is a very straightforward horse. He won the St James’s Palace here last year and won the Moulin at Longchamp. He has been a really good horse and this is his third Group 1. They had their chance to come and beat him, but he battled away and fought all the way.”
John Gosden, trainer of runner-up Terebellum, said: “She ran a great race. 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.”