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Canford Cliffs Cruises in Lockinge Stakes

***This article also appeared on the Bloodhorse.com website***

Canford Cliffs showed no signs of rust as he stormed past longshot Worthadd for an easy victory in the JLT Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at Newbury Racecourse May 14.

The eight furlong Lockinge brought together a small but high class field of seven older horses highlighted by three group I winners. In addition to Canford Cliffs, trainer Richard Hannon also sent out Dick Turpin, while Henry Cecil was represented by Twice Over.

Italian raider Worthadd, ridden by Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winning jockey, Mirco Demuro, broke alertly and went straight to the front. Sensing a slow pace, Tom Queally moved early with Twice Over, and the pair soon joined Worthadd on the front end. They were tracked closely by Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs, with Premio Loco and Balthazaar’s Gift bringing up the rear.

With two furlongs left to run, Worthadd continued to lead as Twice Over began to fade along the rail. Canford Cliffs loomed ominously just behind Worthadd, as Dick Turpin was caught between horses and lacked running room.

Canford Cliffs drew alongside Worthadd and the two rivals dueled for a few strides until the son of Tagula gained the advantage and began to pull away. Geared down in the final yards by Richard Hughes, Canford Cliffs won comfortably by 1 ¼-lengths.

Worthadd held on for second, finishing 2 ¾-lengths in front of Premio Loco. Dick Turpin, who never was able to get a clean run, had to settle for fourth, as Twice Over faded to finish sixth.

Final time for the mile was 1:36.52 over a course listed as good to firm.

An emotional Hannon told reporters after the race, “He’s the best horse I’ve ever had.”

Canford Cliffs will now be pointed toward the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot, and a certain meeting with superstar Goldikova.

“I relish (the challenge)” said Hughes. “I’m looking forward to Ascot and then (meeting) Frankel somewhere down the line.”

Bred in Ireland by S and S Hubbard Rodwell, Canford Cliffs is by the French group I winner, Tagula, and out of the Marju mare, Mrs. Marsh.  He is owned by the partnership of the Heffer Syndicate, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.

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Canford Cliffs Cruises in Irish 2000 Guineas

Canford Cliffs rewarded trainer Richard Hannon’s faith in his ability with a rousing three-length victory in the Abu Dhabi Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) at the Curragh May 22.

Canford Cliffs, who captured the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II) last season, entered the Irish classic off of a third-place finish in the StanJames.com Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) in his most recent start.   Despite being slightly disappointed with that result, Hannon still felt his colt would prove best a mile, and decided to give the Irish equivalent a try.

Ridden by Richard Hughes, Canford Cliffs was settled in mid-division as two of the Aidan O’Brien-trained runners, Encompassing and Purple Heart, set the pace up front.  The two colts, part of a six-horse O’Brien entry, led the field through most of the early stages of the race.

With just over two furlongs to run, Oasis Dancer took over the lead, with Keredari and Xtension hot on his heels.  Hughes sat motionless aboard Canford Cliffs, as the colt began to pick off rivals one by one.  With just over a furlong to run, Hughes pushed the button and the response was immediate, with Canford Cliffs rocketing to the front and drawing away from the field.

Free Judgement, trained by Jim Bolger, came with a sweeping run down the center of the course to claim second, three lengths behind Canford Cliffs.  Aidan O’Brien’s Viscount Nelson got up for third, another 1 ½-lengths further back.

Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:37.64 over a course rated ‘good to firm’.

Richard Hannon Jr., the winning trainer’s son and assistant, told the press after the race, “He relaxed a lot more than usual and was able to finish his race.”

“We probably have three of the best milers in the country (Canford Cliffs, Paco Boy, and Dick Turpin) and people keep saying they are all best at seven furlongs,” Hannon Jr., continued.

“He’ll go to the St. James’s Palace (Stakes, Eng-I) and deserves to take his chance.  He’s possibly the best we’ve ever had, and he’s shown it today.”

Bred in Ireland by S and S Hubbard Rodwell, Canford Cliffs is by the French group I winner, Tagula, and out of the Marju mare, Mrs. Marsh.  He is owned by the partnership of the Heffer Syndicate, Mrs. Roy, and Mrs. Instance.

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