Canford Cliffs Can Rise Above 2011 Sussex Stakes
The greatest match race to be held in Britain or arguably the world in the last decade is almost here, Canford Cliffs versus the unbeaten Frankel over a mile in the 2011 Sussex Stakes.
The race has attracted huge interest not just across Europe but through Asia to Australia and across the Atlantic into the Americas as well.
This is big, the winner laying claim to the best miler in Europe and many believe the best racehorse in the world.
Canford Cliffs is being billed as the challenger on the betting markets, somewhat of a rarity for a horse of his calibre but something which doesn’t phase trainer Richard Hannon.
He says whatever happens both horses will remain legends and he’s thrilled to be a part of such a huge spectacle.
“Unfortunately, one of them will be beaten,” Hannon said.
“I don’t know who is going to win. It will be very interesting to see what happens.
“Once Richard (Hughes) had Canford Cliffs settled as a three-year-old, it all happened from there.
“He is probably at his peak now. He is a strong horse and going well.
“In a small field, you just wonder where the pace will come from but whatever Richard does in the race is OK with me – he is a top-class jockey. He knows the horse better than anybody else.
“The only thing that would worry me is that last year he did not like coming down the hill at Goodwood particularly well but he is a year older now and a more mature horse so I don’t think it will be a problem.”
Hughes reflects these thoughts himself and says the public might discover the horse still has even more talent then what he’s shown to date.
“Canford Cliffs looks better than ever. I think he is a little bit like Sea The Stars – he will just do what he has to do,” he said.
“He will go by whatever is in front of him. No matter what you follow, he will go by it – you feel he will go by anything.
“Head-to-head at the furlong pole would be nice to see and then the best horse will win.”
The stakes for Frankel couldn’t be higher as he goes out to protect an unbeaten record and maintain his spot at the top of the World Thoroughbred Rankings.
As it stands he’s level on points with the Australian wonder mare Black Caviar who’s put together 14 wins from 14 career starts in sprint events down under.
She’s not his worry tonight today though, it’s all about beating Canford Cliffs in the 2011 Sussex Stakes.
In the interests of fairness we should probably mention that there are two other entrants as well.
Rajsaman and Rio De La Plata both out to cause the mother of all upsets and leave the camps of both superstars and indeed most of the general public with egg on their faces.
For Hughes though he’s focussing squarely on becoming the first jockey to ever beat Frankel and he thinks the Sussex Stakes may just be the time.
“Frankel is a brilliant three-year-old and probably as good a miler (1600m) of his age as I have seen, but Canford Cliffs has improved so much since last year and, for me, he is far away the more straightforward of the two,” Hughes said.
“They went off very fast at Royal Ascot and Frankel settled I sat second on Dubawi Gold and could not live with the pace but I can’t see where the pace is going to come from at Goodwood and I will be surprised if Tom Queally does not make the running on Frankel.
“However, Canford Cliffs is a bit like Sea The Stars in that he’ll only do enough.
“Sometimes you are not certain whether he is going to change gear and then he explodes into overdrive, and I don’t think that there is a horse in the world that he won’t go by.
“I wouldn’t be worried about the track or a small field, it is a mile, it is not too undulating, just the two horses on the day. The tactics will be interesting for sure.”
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