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Where Next for Canford Cliffs After Thrilling Ascot Win?

The Richard Hannon trained Canford Cliffs got the better of Goldikova to win the Group One Queen Anne Stakes over one mile in a thrilling curtain raiser to this year’s Royal Ascot meeting. As expected the two market leaders went to the front less than two furlongs out, but it was Canford Cliffs under Richard Hughes who had the stronger finish going by the flying filly and holding on to win by a length, with Cityscape running with great to finish third. Hannon could not hide his delight after the race where he stated that the four year old was the best horse he has ever trained.

Canford Cliffs
© Racehorse Photos

Canford Cliffs
For Hannon the victory was particularly sweet as it was his ninth attempt trying to beat Goldikova who won this race 12 months ago narrowly defeating the Hannon trained Paco Boy. In fact Goldikova defeated Paco Boy five times in total, but her trainer, Freddie Head now knows that Canford Cliffs is a different class although the French trainer also confirmed that he would like to take him on again over a less stiff track. He said “ that he thought the Ascot Mile was a particularly tough mile which his filly does not quite get” he believes that she would give a better account of herself elsewhere. Whatever the theory there will be many believing the old racing maxim that a good colt will always beat a good filly!

Canford Cliffs had been the market leader right up until they went behind, it was only then that Goldikova, despite her jockey, Olivier Peslier putting up a pound overweight, went the 5/4 favourite, with Canford Cliffs at 11/8.

The pace of the race was dictated early on by Goldikova’s pace-maker, Flash Dance and the Aidan O’Brien surprise supplement, Cape Blanco. These two set a strong pace without ever go to breakneck speed, but it was enough to provide a really wonderful finish. Cape Blanco who had hoped, to set the pace and finish strongly in a bid to ‘break the hearts’ of the two principles, but it was clear by the way with which he dropped away at the end that the trip was far too short for him.

The stable has not confirmed where he will next take Canford Cliffs, but it was certainly mentioned by the trainer’s son that the Breeders Cup Mile at the end of the season would be a likely target where they would hope to deprive Goldikova of a fourth successive win in the race. The Hong Kong Mile has also been mentioned but the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, which he won last year is likely to be his next target en route to a tilt at Churchill Downs in November.

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