Circus Maximus narrowly denied Romanised a big French double in a thrilling outcome to the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp.
Something of a surprise winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June after finishing sixth in the Derby, since then Circus Maximus has finished second in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood before failing to see out 10 furlongs at York.
Back over a mile this time, he looked much more at home and travelled into the race well under Ryan Moore.
Entering the final furlong it was clear the two Irish raiders were going better than anything else, as Marois winner Romanised and Billy Lee joined Circus Maximus at the head of affairs.
In the final 50 yards Circus Maximus just began to get on top, with Aidan O’Brien’s colt running on gamely from the Ken Condon-trained Romanised, although the winner did drift left into the runner-up for a few strides in the closing stages.
That prompted the stewards to call an inquiry, but it was not long before the placings were confirmed.
Charlie Appleby’s Line Of Duty ran another good race just behind in third.
Alan Cooper, racing manager for the Niarchos family, who own Circus Maximus in partnership with Coolmore, said: “Donnacha’s (O’Brien) immediate reaction after York was that he simply didn’t stay 10 furlongs, so it wasn’t a tough decision to come back to a mile.
“He’s got a lovely attitude and his record now, with the St James’s Palace, the Sussex Stakes and now today shows that a mile is the right trip for him, so more congrats to the Ballydoyle team.
“Obviously the Breeders’ Cup could be on the cards, but I don’t know exactly because we are just enjoying today first of all and then we’ll make a plan.
“We’ll see what Aidan feels when he gets home and take it from there, the other obvious option is the QEII at Ascot – we’ll see what Aidan wants to do.”