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Gosden: I'm the happiest I've been all year with Too Darn Hot

Too Darn Hot: general 3-1 second favourite behind Phoenix Of Spain for the St James's Palace
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John Gosden is hoping to turn around the fortunes of Too Darn Hot as last year's champion two-year-old prepares for a rematch with Phoenix Of Spain on the opening day of Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

Gosden said on Thursday that Too Darn Hot has been the "worst managed horse of the year" but the trainer is now happier with the colt than he has been all season.

The son of Dubawi has not matched his juvenile achievements in his two starts during an interrupted campaign, which has been hampered by a splint problem that forced him out of the 2,000 Guineas.

Too Darn Hot finished second in the Dante Stakes and Irish 2,000 Guineas and has three lengths to find with Phoenix Of Spain from the Curragh when the two renew battle in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes.

Gosden said: "Too Darn Hot has been the worst managed horse of the year. He missed the Guineas, which was a tragedy, and then he was only 80 per cent fit when we ran him in the Dante. Very stupidly he then went to the Irish Guineas only nine days later in which time he'd had a flu jab, which isn't ideal."

He added: "What we should have done is gone straight to Ireland with him, but he's come out of that in great shape and I'm the happiest I've been all year with him."

Phoenix Of Spain is 13-8 favourite with Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook to confirm his superiority over Too Darn Hot, who is a general 3-1 second favourite.

John Gosden's King Of Comedy (R) walks to the Al Bahathri gallops with a stable companion

The latter could be joined by stablemate King Of Comedy as Gosden aims to win the mile feature for the third time following Kingman in 2014 and Without Parole 12 months ago.

Gosden was speaking at Ascot Racecourse & World Horse Racing Event at the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket where Frankie Dettori was also in attendance.

Dettori, who has his best book of rides for many years after picking up key mounts for Sir Michael Stoute, was also positive about Too Darn Hot but is most looking forward to attempting back-to-back wins in the Gold Cup with Stradivarius.

Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori (right) win last year's Gold Cup

He said about the general 6-4 favourite, who is set to to face Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter and Dee Ex Bee on Thursday: "Stradivarius has become the people's favourite horse. He was unbeaten last year, is trying to win it again and he wears his heart on his sleeve.

"Others may be after a shot at the title but if they come into the ring they're going to have a fight."

This year's Ascot Gold Cup

On his other mounts, Dettori who is 4-1 second favourite behind 8-15 chance Ryan Moore to be top jockey at Royal Ascot with Paddy Power, added: "Crystal Ocean is a nice ride to pick up in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and I sat on him yesterday. He's a versatile horse and must have a good chance in what looks the best race of the meeting."

The Gosden-trained Mehdaayih, who was sent off favourite when finishing seventh in the Oaks, will miss the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes on Thursday but the yard will still be represented in the race by Shambolic and Star Catcher.

Stablemate Private Secretary will do duty in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes the following day, when he will be joined by Humanitarian, who finished seventh to Anthony Van Dyck in the Derby. 



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Very stupidly he then went to the Irish Guineas only nine days later in which time he'd had a flu jab, which isn't ideal
E.W. Terms