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Canford Cliffs

Canford Cliffs: a member of the tenth crop by Rathbarry sire Tagula

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  

Cliffs sets best
Classic standard

Canford Cliffs
Tagula-Mrs Marsh (Marju))

NO sooner had Paco Boy proven his ability to stay 1m against top-class opposition in the Queen Anne Stakes then a new conundrum emerged from the same stable to occupy onlookers. Can last week's Coventry Stakes winner Canford Cliffs last out 1m to play a hand in next year's 2,000 Guineas?

Foreign raiders, clashes of Classic winners and history-makers combined to make last week one of the most memorable Royal Ascots of recent years. Yet arguably the most impressive performance of the meeting came from the once-raced two-year-old Canford Cliffs.

Richard Hannon's son of Tagula arrived at the royal meeting with a sky high reputation, triggered partly by a seven length romp on his debut in a maidenat Newbury.

Support was justified
It usually takes an above average type to win at the first time of asking at that track, and with connections confident in the colt's ability to handle Ascot's good to firm going  - quite different from the rain softened ‘good' ground that he had encountered on his debut - the public latched on to Canford Cliffs, sending him off the 7/4 favourite to land the first juvenile race of Royal Ascot.

Canford Cliffs justified punters' support by turning in a performance rarely seen at stakes level. If anything, he broke too well and was keen enough for much of the early stages. But when Richard Hughes gave him a nudge at 2f pole, the response was immediate, with Canford Cliffs putting six lengths between himself and Xtension.

It was a performance which labelled Canford Cliffs as a freak, and it will be disappointing and surprising if the colt does not graduate successfully to the top level.

Will he get the Guineas trip?
Whether that includes next year's 2,000 Guineas remains to be seen. Hughes, who remained such a firm believer in Paco Boy's ability to stay 1m, has asserted that Canford Cliffs will get the Guineas distance. And as Paco Boy illustrated, it can be foolish to oppose those closest to the horse.

One thing is for sure, however; he will have to settle better than he did in the Coventry if he is to last home at Newmarket next May.

Canford Cliffs is from the tenth crop of Tagula, who has never stood for more than €7,500 at Rathbarry Stud in Ireland and is one of the last remaining male descendants of Stop The Music.
During that time, Tagula has established a solid rather than flashy reputation as a consistent source of winners - especially two-year-olds. However, he has not been so consistent in producing stakes horses, which is surprising given that his first crop yielded four stakes winners conceived off a fee of just Ir4,000gns.

Two of them, namely Atlantis Prince and Tagshira, won at Group 2 level as two-year-olds,which contributed to a champion first crop sires' title for their sire. And within 12 months, that tally had been doubled thanks to the Listed wins of Macaroon and Red Millennium.

However, only one stakes winner, Bakewell Tart, emerged from the following three crops. Five further stakes winners, including the popular sprinter Tax Free, have represented him from six crops since.

The best year yet for Tagula
This year though has proven to be one of his best yet, which is ironic given that Tagula's fee was dropped to a low of €4,000 this season.

Tax Free has been Tagula's flag-bearer for several seasons but he appears to have improved again this year with a Group 2 and Listed win to his credit. Tagula's three-year-old crop, meanwhile, is led by Easter Stakes winner Pure Poetry. Add Canford Cliffs and this season is hinting at a revival.

Canford Cliffs is the second Royal Ascot juvenile stakes winner by Tagula following Drawnfromthepast's success in the Windsor Castle Stakes two years ago, and although Tax Free was unraced at two, it is fast and precocious performers such as the above, Tagshira and Red Millennium with which Tagula is closely associated.

Talented two-year-old

Tagula was arguably best as a two-year-old himself for Ian Balding, taking his second start by five lengths en route to finishing fourth on the ‘wrong side' in the Coventry Stakes.
He narrowly regained winning ways next time out in the July Stakes - his turn of foot had carried him three lengths in front 2f out - before becoming the first of two Group 1 winners by his sire in the Prix Morny.

Tagula was no match for Alhaarth in the Dewhurst Stakes or for Danehill Dancer on his three-year-old debut in the Greenham Stakes. But he put up an improved display to briefly hit the front 100 yards out inthe Poule d'Essai des Poulains before being reeled in by Ashkalani and Spinning World.

That run suggested that 1m was the outer limits of Tagula's stamina, and that seemed to be the case again when he finished nearly eight lengths adrift of Spinning World in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. He returned successfully in the autumn to win the 7f Supreme Stakes, and ran twice more abroad, including when fifth in the Prix de la Foret, before replacing Taufan at Rathbarry Stud.

Although Tagula owns a stronger record with sprinters, the likes of Atlantis Prince, Pure Poetry and Bakewell Tart have proven that the stallion is capable of producing useful milers.
Canford Cliff's female family also offers some encouragement towards his chances of getting the Guineas distance.

Strong female family
Mrs Marsh never reached the track but she boasts some distinguished connections as a half-sister to Pina Colada, who was Grade 2-placed over 1m, and Triple Sharp, dam of this season's smart 7f performer Nasri.

She traces to the high-class Amerigo's Fancy, a track-record setter over 1m1f at Del Mar, via Triple Tipple, who supplemented her Strensall Stakes success at York for Fittocks Stud with a placing in the Grade 1 Gamely Handicap
Mrs Marsh is a daughter of Marju, the sire of 1m4f Group 1 winners such as Viva Pataca, Sil Sila and My Emma. He also continues to gain credibility as a broodmare sire; Canford Cliffs is the tenth stakes winner bred by one of his daughters following the likes of Girl Warrior, Big Bad Bob and Dunelight. Adding further encouragement is the presence of Lyphard as the sire of the second dam, Drei.

Hopefully Canford Cliffs is the horse capable of breathing life into a family which hasn't been bristling with brilliant runners in recent seasons. It is still a long way to the 2,000 Guineas and his ability tostay 1m or train on is not cut and dried, but he is the best juvenile seen so far and is in the right hands.

Bred by S & S Hubbard-Rodwell in Ireland. €46,000 Goffs November Foal by Redpender Stud, £50,000 DBS St Leger yearling by Peter Doyle.

Sire: Tagula
Bred by Patrick and Sean Twomey in Ireland. Ir11,000gns Goffs November Foal. 32,000gns DBS St Leger yearling. Won 4 (6-7f) of 12 starts at 2-3 years viz. 3 (inc. Prix Morny - Gr1, July Stakes - Gr3) out of 6 starts at 2 years and 1 (Supreme Stakes - Gr3) out of 6 starts at 3 years. Also 3rd Dewhurst Stakes - Gr1 and Poule d'Essaie des Poulains - Gr1. RPR 117 at 2 years and 116 at 3 years. Earned £190,430.

16hh, strong, compact, good-looking horse. Precocious. Showed high-class form over 1m although most effective over 6-7f. Best of good and good to firm ground, below par only try on soft.
Quite well-bred. Best son of a useful 2yo who later became a fair and consistent sire. Half-brother to 4 minor winners and out of an unplaced daughter of Standaan from the family of Grade 1-winning miler Da Hoss.

Stands at Rathbarry Stud at €4,000. Sire of 10 crops of racing age inc. notable winners; Tax Free (Gr2), Atlantis Prince (Gr2), Canford Cliffs (Gr2), Tagshira (Gr2),Drawnfromthepast, King Orchisios, Double Vie, Macaroon, Pentecost, Red Millennium, Bakewell Tart etc. Champion first season sire in 2000.

Dam: Mrs Marsh
Bred by S. & S. Hubbard-Rodwell in GB. Unraced.
Well-bred. Daughter of a leading miler and later high-class sire. Half-sister to 5 minor winners including Grade 2-placed Pina Colada (by Sabrehill) and to dam of Group 2-placed Ellmau. Out of placed daughter of Grade 2 winner Triple Tipple. From a fair family cultivated firstly by Samuel Riddle and then Nelson Bunker Hunt, traces to top-class track record setter Amerigo's Fancy.

25,000gns in foal to Holy Roman Emperor to Redpender Stud, Tattersalls December Sale 2008.

To stud at 4 years and dam of Xeeran (06 c Barathea; unplaced), Canford Cliffs (07 c Tagula; Gr2 winner). Slipped to Acclamation in 2006 and her 2008 foal by Acclamation died at birth.

Hard not be impressed by the high cruising speed and turn of foot that Canford Cliff's possesses. Despite Tagula's good record with sprinters, there is encouragement from his female family that he can stay 1m, although will probably have to settle better to do so.




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