Declan Rix

With Too Darn Hot winning last week's Sussex Stakes, Declan Rix would like connections to be bold and try the colt over 6f.

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While one couldn’t be absolutely sure Too Darn Hot would be at his very best over six furlongs, last Wednesday’s ready half-a-length victory in the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes (1m) was yet another piece of evidence to suggest John Gosden’s colt would be worth a crack against Europe’s best speedsters.

Strong-travelling qualities have been a key feature of Too Darn Hot’s career; we saw it late in his juvenile season and it has continued in 2019. Despite having a pedigree that screams 10f+, the son of Dubawi out of brilliant 12f performer Dar Re Mi simply has too much natural exuberance and pace to conform with his page.

In the Irish 2000 Guineas, the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and again in the Sussex at Goodwood, regular rider Frankie Dettori has been at pains to try and switch his mount off in the hope of preserving precious energy.

Over a stiff mile at Royal Ascot, Too Darn Hot simply didn’t get away with his enthusiastic demeanour, folding late in the final furlong having looked the winner half-way up the Ascot straight; stamina clearly the issue.

On the Downs at Goodwood, a less demanding mile than the round track at Ascot, Too Darn Hot got away with travelling strongly, but the visuals of the victory and the level I have him running to, suggest on all the available evidence, 7f is his optimum.  But could he be as good over 6f?

Too Darn Hot wins the Sussex Stakes
Is the strong travelling Too Darn Hot (right) worth a go at 6f?

As we all know, 7f Group 1 races in this part of the world are rare and simply don’t hold the prestige of various 6f or 1m races. With that being the case, wouldn’t it be fantastic to see John Gosden roll the big dice and give Too Darn Hot a crack at the top sprinters before his end-of-season target, the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

With a horse that’s already been beaten three times this season, I’m not sure connections have much to lose and the idea has clearly crossed John Gosden’s mind already given Too Darn Hot holds an entry in the Group 1 Sprint Cup Stakes (6f) at Haydock on September 7th. Gosden has also mentioned the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes (6f) at Ascot in October as a possibility.

With Too Darn Hot highly likely to miss next week’s Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois (1m), Gosden must plot a path to Santa Anita on November 2nd, a race and meeting the owners would love to target.

The Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on September 15th or the Group 1 Qatar Prix de la Foret (7f) on October 6th will probably be Too Darn Hot’s likely Breeders’ Cup warm-up race - with British Champions Day undesirably falling within two weeks of Santa Anita - but allowing the three-year-colt to take up his Sprint Cup engagement would be fantastic.

The likelihood of soft ground I can’t see being too much of an inconvenience and may even be a help, in the respect of slowing down those ‘proper sprinters’. In terms of ideals, Haydock’s sharp nature wouldn’t be the first course to test his 6f speed in what would be the horses first ever run over the trip, should he go.

If things didn’t work out, John Gosden and his Clarehaven team would have enough time to ready Too Darn Hot for what could be his career swansong in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Who knows, given his strong constitution, is there a chance we could see Too Darn Hot in the Champions Sprint and back up quickly at Santa Anita?

It’s unlikely, but it would be fantastic to see, and the trainer does owe us fans one. After all, with Mr Gosden robbing us of seeing Cracksman -vs- Enable last season, he’s got some making up to do! I jest.  

Declan Rix
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