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Canford Cliffs - Royal Ascot - 16.06.09

Canford Cliffs (orange) surges ahead of the field in the Coventry Stakes

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham  

Canford Cliffs saunters to Coventry Stakes success

Report: Royal Ascot, Tuesday

Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 6f, 2yo

CANFORD CLIFFS proved he is the real deal with a nonchalant six-length success in the Coventry Stakes at Ascot on Tuesday.

William Hill make the winner 8-1 favourite for the 2,000 Guineas. Coral were slightly less impressed, going 16-1 for the colts' Classic.

Canford Cliffs's jockey Richard Hughes had oozed confidence before the off, claiming the son of Tagula was his best ride of the week, and how right he was.

The Richard Hannon-trained runner broke smartly and raced at the head of the field with No Hubris and Red Jazz.

But the contrast between Canford Cliffs and the rest of the field was marked and, while Hughes satpretty on top of the unbeaten colt, the other horses were under strong pressure.

Red Jazz, racing over 6f for the first time, started to weaken approaching the final furlong, as did No Hubris, and at this point Canford Cliffs asserted.

He immediately raced clear to win as the 7-4 favourite for the Heffer Syndicate and give his trainer and jockey a double on the day after landing the Queen Anne with Paco Boy.

Xtension, outpaced early, stayed on strongly to be second at 20-1 for trainer Clive Cox and jockey Adam Kirby while Rakaan was third at 28-1.

Hannon said: "I love this horse. He was a very good looking horse at the sales and had a lot of character. He is the sort of horse you would look at and think 'if I could afford him I'd have him'.

"He's such a laid-back character. Richard rode him work one morning and said he was a great horse.

"He's very relaxed at home and walks down to the canters like an old horse.

"It would be hard to find a two-year-old I've had as good as him. It was a long time ago to Rock City.

"We might look at something like the July Stakes and we can't forget the Doncaster Sales race, but we'll have to think about it. This horse wants looking after, he could be next year's horse."

Hughes added: "I rode him a few canters and I liked him a lot. I thought he would be ready in July, he was a bit leggy and a bit long.

"I gave him a half-spin one morning and I've never ridden anything like him in my life. I told the boss [Hannon] we had something serious here.

"He went ten lengths up on two others and the lads got a rollicking. They said they couldn't lay up with him. It was an unbelievable bit of work.

"This horse shouldn't have won - I've never known a horse to run away with me and win a race.

"He was a little bit lit up going to the start. It was only his second run. He was a little bit keen, he jumped really quick and was a bit keen again when the others came upsides me as he does all his work inbehind.

"I've never known a horse pull that hard and win a race. He's the best I've ridden by far. He's a freak."

Canford Cliffs is the 11th stakes winner by Rathbarry Stud's Tagula and the second juvenile by the sire to score at Royal Ascot following the victory of Drawnfromthepast in the 2007 Windsor Castle Stakes.

The Prix Morny-winning son of Taufan, who is also the sire of this season's Easter Stakes winner Pure Poetry, stands for €4,000.

Purchased for £50,000 by agent Peter Doyle as a yearling at the DBS St Leger Sale, Canford Cliffs was bred by S. and S. Hubbard Rodwell. He is the second foal out of the unraced Marju mare Mrs Marsh, a half-sister to the Grade 2-placed Pina Colada.




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