Horse Racing | Press Article 16/04/24

Newmarket trainer John Gosden has not been afraid to admit he made errors in the races he picked this season for Too Darn Hot, and reiterated his failing after the colt won today’s £1,059,250 G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes.

Owned and bred by Lord Lloyd-Webber, and set one day to become a stallion under Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley banner, Too Darn Hot (evens fav) was nudged to victory by Frankie Dettori, who was riding his 11th G1 win of a memorable year. The partnership beat Circus Maximus (9/2) and I Can Fly (14/1) by half a length and a length and a quarter.

Gosden, who was keen to point out that both he and Lord Lloyd-Webber’s racing manager, Simon Marsh, held their hands up for the colt’s defeats, said:

“We knew Phoenix Of Spain and Circus Maximus would go forward, and they set an even pace. Frankie said after that it was a pity they hadn’t taken down the auxiliary rail [in the home straight] because he knew it would get tight [among the runners] and it did. At Goodwood it angles out and there’s an elbow, but I said ‘Just sit tight and if you don’t get out everyone will understand – don’t go committing three furlongs out’ and he didn’t but sat tight and when Andrea’s horse [Zabeel Prince] got tired the gap opened and we were away.

“His best trip is probably seven furlongs – I’ve put him in sprints, and wouldn’t be afraid of running him in the Sprint on Champions Day at Ascot, but a nice flat mile suits. The Curragh mile was too stiff after we ran him back too soon after the Dante Stakes, and it was the same in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, where the mile climbs a long way. It caught him out. His mother [Dar Re Mi, a three-time G1 winner who Gosden trained] stayed a mile and a half, but he’s all speed.

“He was a champion two-year-old, which proved he was speed. I’ve been so open that he missed the Greenham Stakes and 2000 Guineas, which I think he would have won, after he threw a splint in training, but we got it wrong running him in the Dante Stakes, which is not his trip. Then we rushed him back, and it was stupid and wrong. Fortunately, the horse has overcome both his manager and his trainer! It was interesting that they [Aidan O’Brien and his patrons] ran Circus Maximus over a mile and a half in the Derby, so we all makes mistakes!

“The horse [Too Darn Hot] has come right now, and it’s a pity that Andrew and Madeleine [Lloyd-Webber] are at a music festival in Salzburg, but it’s wonderful their horse is back, and he’s proved that being champion two-year-old was no fluke.

“We’ll probably stick to the Mile now. We know there are lovely G1s ahead, such as the QEII and the Moulin, but to come and win the Sussex is wonderful. To me the great races are the Sussex, the Jacques Le Marois, and the QEII – the all-aged G1s.”


Race Four – Qatar Sussex Stakes – Winning Jockey Quotes


The man for the big occasion delivered once again as racing legend Frankie Dettori steered Even-money favourite Too Darn Hot to victory in the £1,059,250 G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes over a mile.

Trained by John Gosden, the three-year-old son of Dubawi tracked the pace in the early stages of the mile contest and displayed a potent turn of foot in the closing stages to master the Aidan O’Brien-trained Circus Maximus (9/2) by a half-length.

Dettori has ridden 11 G1 winners in 62 days (since May 31) and this was Too Darn Hot’s second G1 victory in succession following his success in the G1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauville earlier this month.

Dettori and Newmarket trainer Gosden have enjoyed a spellbinding summer, characterised by victories in the last five days from Enable (G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes), Stradivarius (G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup) and Too Darn Hot’s win this afternoon.

Dettori’s 11 G1 victories this year have come in the G1 Investec Oaks, G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, G1 Gold Cup, G1 Commonwealth Cup, G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, G1 Coral-Eclipse, G1 Prix Jean Prat, G1 Irish Oaks, G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup, G1 Sussex Stakes.

The 48-year-old rider said: “Too Darn Hot is very good. We had a smooth run to this race and his homework has been good, but my god he has so much speed – I can’t feel my arms at the moment! He is just blessed with so much natural speed.

“He had a good run at this race today. 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.

“Too Darn Hot got the big one today that he really deserved. He has been unlucky for various reasons this year, but now he has showed his true colours and we are delighted.

“He is a wonderful horse with a wonderful pedigree and deserved a proper G1, which we all thought he had in him. I am so lucky that I work for Clarehaven [Stables]. We have an amazing team, it is a pleasurable place to work, and amazing horses trained by a genius of a trainer.

“He has a lot of pace and a Breeders’ Cup Mile would be idea, with a fast two turns. I am sure that it could be the end of season target.

“It’s not just G1s – to look at the list of G1 that I have won [this year], they are absolutely amazing, mammoth races. King Georges, Eclipses and Gold Cups – they are proper G1s. I have had an amazing summer and long may it continue. Mr Gosden is the genius – he puts it on the plate for me and I am doing the rest.

“I was waiting for Too Darn Hot to come into the paddock and I said to John: “I will probably need a heart transplant by the end of the week!” He told me to shut up and that I loved it – maybe he is right.

“This is probably the best year I’ve had. I cannot say enough thanks to John Gosden. He is an amazing trainer with an amazing team and long may it continue.”


More Qatar Sussex Stakes quotes


Simon Marsh, manager of Watership Down Stud, owned by Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber, which bred Too Darn Hot, the cosy winner of today’s mile G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes, worth £1,059,280, highlight of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, said: “It is fantastic to see Too Darn Hot back to what we have always believed he was and is. It is great.”

John Gosden, Too Darn Hot’s trainer, added: “Frankie (Dettori) said his arms are aching (because Too Darn Hot was a bit keen). We managed Too Darn Hot very badly, myself and the manager, earlier in the year. He missed the Greenham and the 2,000 Guineas – and I think he would have won the Guineas, because he had a splint. Then we panicked and went to the Dante, entirely the wrong trip – an extended mile and a quarter. Then we panicked again and sent him nine days later over to Ireland to run him at a stiff mile (Irish 2,000 Guineas) and sustaining a little leg issue and consequently we did everything wrong for the colt. He then ran great at Royal Ascot, but if we had just been sensible about it, we probably would not have got ourselves in a mess. But, fortunately, he was a very high-class champion two-year-old and he has got both the trainer and the manager out of trouble (went back to seven furlongs to win the G1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauville on July 7).

“There are lovely races like the 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 G1 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.

“I don’t think he will be remaining in training next year. When you have been champion two-year-old and have won two G1s this year, with hopefully more to come, I think he has done his job. It was rather the same with Kingman and Roaring Lion. Their commercial value becomes so great because of their speed and being champion two-year-old, and that takes over. He has proved that he can overcome both trainer and manager. It would have been fair to doubt him, but we were running him over the wrong trip off what I call interrupted and incomplete preparations. Winning the Sussex is hugely important for the horse and gets a rather large monkey off our backs.

“Frankie is exceptionally well and he rides with great confidence. He was saying to me there that it was too much responsibility and I said to him: “I tell you what is bad for you is to sit in that weighing room and not have a ride – you are a showman and you love being here”. After Enable’s race, Frankie went home exhausted and we all sat and had a TV dinner – it was very sad, but we were completely bottomed out emotionally, and he of course physically. He is not a kid anymore and, if we keep him going to the right meetings, we might get a few more years out of the old boy yet. If he hadn’t have won a G1 this year, he would be crying and kicking the waste paper basket, and the cat would be in trouble.

“We still have got Stradivarius (3-time Qatar Goodwood Cup winner) – he is a remarkably lovely horse. He is so full of himself – he was quite a cheeky chappie this morning – he ate up his feed and started shouting – just playing. Let’s look forward to seeing him the rest of this year and next year. He is probably at his zenith now at five and is racing like a true professional – the teenage years have moved on and now he is a pretty mature horse.”    

Result 3.35pm Qatar Sussex Stakes (Group 1), 1m

1 Too Darn Hot (Lord Lloyd-Webber) John Gosden 3-9-00 Frankie Dettori Evs fav

2 Circus Maximus (Flaxman Stables/Mrs Magnier/Tabor/Smith) Aidan O’Brien IRE 3-9-00 Ryan Moore 9/2

3 I Can Fly (Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor) Aidan O’Brien IRE 4-9-05 Donnacha O’Brien 14/1

8 ran, Time: 1m 38.57s, Distances: ½, 1¼ Tote Win: £1.80          Places: £1.10, £1.60, £3.50    Exacta: £5.60

Breeding: b c Dubawi (IRE) - Dar Re Mi (GB) (Singspiel (IRE)) Breeder: Watership Down Stud

John Gosden – 156th Goodwood winner (38th at Qatar Goodwood Festival)

Frankie Dettori – 204th Goodwood winner (72nd at Qatar Goodwood Festival)


Fourth race, 3.35pm: Qatar Sussex Stakes

Placed quotes


The G1 £1,059,250 Qatar Sussex Stakes, run over a mile, saw 9/2 chance Circus Maximus, come home half a length second behind Evens favourite Too Darn Hot.

Trained by Ireland’s champion Flat trainer, Aidan O’Brien, Circus Maximus pleased his connections.

O’Brien reflected: “You would have to be very happy with that. We were delighted with the run today.

“We know that he gets a mile and a quarter well, so we have that option, to go up in trip, or we can stay where we are.

“The next one [meeting] to come is York, and we need to decide whether we go up to a mile and a quarter there.

“There are a lot of things open to him because he is a relaxed horse. You wouldn’t believe how relaxed at home he is, he just takes everything in his stride.”

Ryan Moore, rider of the Galileo colt, added: “He ran a super race, I think he has come forward since Ascot.”

O’Brien also trained the third home, I Can Fly (14/1), who was another length and a quarter behind.

O’Brien continued: “She has run a stormer. She is lovely. When the ground gets easier it will help her.

“A mile, on easy ground, with a strong pace is what she loves. She is more of an autumn horse.”

Jockey Donnacha O’Brien, said: “She ran well – she got a nice trip.”