By Craig Kemp
17th June 2019
Considering he was the champion two-year-old of last season, Too Darn Hot’s three-year-old campaign has fallen way short of expectation.
Injury ruled him out of the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and then he missed a second Classic, when an unsatisfactory second in the Dante Stakes at York ruled him out of the Epsom Derby.
However, he was back in action nine days after the Dante, finishing runner-up again in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, three lengths adrift of Phoenix Of Spain.
Up next for Too Darn Hot comes the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and the opportunity to gain payback on Phoenix Of Spain.
Too Darn Hot is 9/4 in the St James’s Palace Stakes betting odds, with Charles Hills’ runner the pre-race favourite on this occasion at 7/4.
Yet, here is why we expect Too Darn Hot to earn a first three-year-old victory at Royal Ascot.
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John Gosden sets the record straight on Too Darn Hot
“He’s been probably the worst managed horse this year,” said trainer John Gosden.
“We sent him to the Dante when quite frankly he was 80%. Frankie [Dettori] was trying to settle him further back and ignored the pacemakers and consequently he got there to be second.
“Then, very stupidly because we seemed to be missing all the Classics, we took him over nine days later to Ireland and we had to give him a flu vac [before travelling].
“He ran very well, but we were asking the horse to do impossible things. It would have been much better if I’d simply targeted the Irish Guineas with him.”
With the interrupted preparations now over, there’s every possibility that Too Darn Hot will put his best foot forward at Royal Ascot.
A victory over Phoenix Of Spain would put their head-to-head record at 2-1 in favour of Dettori’s Royal Ascot mount, as the pair first locked horns in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last season.
On good ground similar to that expected in the St James’s Palace Stakes, Too Darn Hot stayed on strongly over 7f to win by the best part of two lengths.
The pair are currently ranked the same based on official ratings at 120, which is 6lb above anything else in the Royal Ascot field. However, few would argue against Too Darn Hot being the best horse in the race.
Now is the time for him to prove it.