Santa Anita, 1st & 2nd November 2019

Circus Maximus aiming to be headline act in Mile

O’Brien colt has thrived back in trip.

  • Friday 01 November
  • News
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Circus Maximus carries the hopes of Europe in the Breeders’ Cup Mile – a fact which might have seemed fanciful when he won a soft ground Dee Stakes at Chester in May.

Not beaten too far in the Derby, he was then supplemented for the St James’s Palace Stakes, where he pulled off a surprise win.

He showed that was no fluke when adding another Group One in France, but he might need some Ryan Moore magic from stall nine.

“He’s a lazy horse at home, but when he gets to the track he’s completely different and can quicken up very well when he’s running,” said trainer Aidan O’Brien.

“Circus Maximus is a lovely horse by Galileo, who benefited from a switch back in trip and that really made him come alive.

“I’m very happy with the team in general, and of course I’m looking forward to the meeting, as I always do.”

James Tate’s Hey Gaman, Richard Fahey’s Space Traveller and the David O’Meara duo of Lord Glitters and Suedois are also in the European team, all live on Sky Sports Racing.

In the Classic, Bob Baffert’s McKinzie looks like going off favourite after a consistent season, although Mike Smith has been replaced after a defeat last time out.

“I thought I had to do something different, so I put Joel Rosario up,” said Baffert.

“Every time he gets beat it’s very frustrating because I think of my friend Brad McKinzie, who died of cancer at 62 in August 2017.

“It was very frustrating to lose the Met Mile because he was so good that day. I really don’t blame Mike Smith that much, as he had to make a decision there and he made the wrong one.

“I just want the horse to show up. There’s a lot on the line. There’s championships on the line. There is Horse of the Year on the line.

“That’s the beauty of the Breeders’ Cup. They are going to give out lots of championships this weekend, I just hope that some of mine are on that list.”