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Frankel and Canford Head Elite Quartet for the “Duel On The Downs” 21/07/11

A select field of four will line up for the most anticipated race of the summer after Frankel, Canford Cliffs, Rio De La Plata and Rajsaman were declared for the £300,000 Group One QIPCO Sussex Stakes (3.10pm) at Goodwood on Wednesday, July 27.

© Racehorse Photos


Billed as the “Duel on the Downs”, the mile contest sees the outstanding three-year-old Frankel, currently rated the best horse in the world, go toe-to-toe with last year’s victor Canford Cliffs, who was hailed as the top older miler on the planet following his defeat of the great Goldikova at Royal Ascot last month.

The Sir Henry-Cecil-trained Frankel, last year’s joint-champion two-year-old, stunned seasoned observers when storming to a scintillating six-length victory in the Group One QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May and followed up with success in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal Meeting in June.

Canford Cliffs

Canford Cliffs
An added draw to the “Duel on the Downs” is the contrasting styles of the two principals. Canford Cliffs is a renowned hold-up performer with a blistering late turn of foot whereas Frankel, up to now, has dominated his rivals with devastating mid-race pace and a long surge for home.

Rio De La Plata, successful in the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at the course as a two-year-old, is a solid Group One performer for Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The five-year-old also landed the Group One Prix Jean Luc Lagardere as a juvenile and collected a pair of Group One races over a mile and 10 furlongs in Italy last autumn. He was fourth to the Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

French trainer Freddy Head is hoping that Rajsaman can succeed where his illustrious stablemate Goldikova failed, by overcoming Canford Cliffs. The four-year-old colt was last seen finishing strongly to take third in the Group One Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp in May, just a length behind the great mare.

The QIPCO Sussex Stakes is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, forming the fifth leg in the mile category.

Adam Waterworth, Managing Director at Goodwood Racecourse, said today: “I am delighted with the field for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes. The whole focus was the ‘Duel on the Downs’ so to get the big two is fantastic. Obviously, we have known about that for a couple of weeks but it is still always a relief to see them still in there with the race just two days away.

”Numerically, we would have hoped for a few more runners than the four we have but with Frankel and Canford Cliffs in there, it is not too big a surprise to see a small field.

“It is brilliant that we have a runner from France for the first time in a while and Rio De La Plata is a very good horse who has a little bit of history at Goodwood. We have four fantastic horses in the race and we can’t wait for the day.

“I cannot think of a Flat race that has attracted the attention and anticipation that this race has. A lot of that comes down to the contrasting running styles of the two main protagonists.

“To get what looks like being the best three-year-old we have seen in a very long time up against a four-year-old that is already proven is brilliant. Tactically, I think it is going to be a fascinating race - with those two horses and the way they run.

“You do not necessarily need 12 runners to have a spectacular race. I think we would have a great race with only Frankel and Canford Cliffs but the fact that we have another two in there that are very good horses in their own right is fantastic. I just cannot wait for ten past three on Wednesday.”

Wednesday’s excellent card also features the £60,000 Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes (2.35pm) for two-year-olds over seven furlongs, which has seven declarations.

They include Red Duke, who took the Group two Superlative Stakes over the distance at Newmarket on July 9 for trainer John Quinn, defeating the Richard Hannon-trained Chandlery by a neck.

Hannon saddled King Torus to land the prize last season and Chandlery is the pick of a quartet that the trainer has declared for the prestigious prize. The others are the twice-raced and unbeaten Sakhee colt Red Seventy, Newmarket maiden victor Rockinante and Lingfield maiden winner Minal.

The trainer also took the race in 1986 with subsequent 2,000 Guineas hero Don’t Forget Me.

Clive Cox won the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes in 2009 with Xtension and is set to saddle Lethal Force, who exhibited high-class form on June 14 when less than two lengths fourth to Power in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Mark Johnston won this race with Lucky Story (2003) and the outstanding Shamardal (2003). The trainer runs Elkhart who was third to Rockinante at Newmarket before easily landing a Beverley maiden on July 2.

Wednesday’s action commences with the week’s longest race, the £30,000 Goodwood Handicap over two miles, five furlongs (2pm, 20 runners).

The remaining contests on the fantastic card are the £40,000 UBS Handicap (3.45pm, 12 runners) over a mile and a half, the six-furlong £15,000 Markel International Fillies’ Maiden (4.20pm, 13 runners), the £40,000 Harwoods EBF Hellvelyn Classified Stakes (4.55pm, 15 runners) over seven furlongs and the nine-furlong £15,000 EBF Nayef Fillies And Mares Handicap (5.30pm, 18 runners).

Glorious Goodwood runs over five days, from Tuesday, July 26 to Saturday, July 30 inclusive.


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