Canford Cliffs (right): star colt landed five successive Group 1 victoriesPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Brilliant miler Canford Cliffs retired to stud
CANFORD CLIFFS has been retired to stud after suffering a leg injury when chasing home Frankel in the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood eight days ago.
The star miler suffered a near-fore pastern injury at Goodwood and was retired on veterinary advice.
The Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old, who had won five successive Group 1 races before last week's five-length defeat, will stand next year at Coolmore, his owner Robin Heffer having sold a half share to Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith at the end of last year.
Hannon said: "Canford Cliffs was a very rare type in that he had such great early speed as a two-year-old, but also stretched out to be a superb miler at three and four. He is without doubt the best horse I have had in over 40 years as a trainer.
Richard Hannon: rates Canford Cliffs as the best he has trainedPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
"It's bitterly disappointing for his owners and for everyone here in East Everleigh that he had to be retired due to injury, but at least it does explain why he hung so badly at Goodwood. We were very much looking forward to taking on Frankel again."
As a two-year-old Canford Cliffs was one of the most impressive Coventry Stakes winners of modern times, beating Xtension by six lengths. He ended that year with an official mark of 118 but compromised his chance by pulling too hard on his first two starts at three, including when third to Makfi in the Stan James-sponsored 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Once Richard Hughes taught Canford Cliffs to settle and conserve his energy for the telling late burst that became his trademark, he carried all before him, following an easy win in the Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas by beating stablemate Dick Turpin in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and then the 2009 winner Rip Van Winkle in the Sussex Stakes.
Both Hannon and Hughes were adamant Canford Cliffs was the finest horse they had ever been associated with. Hughes, who rode him all his 11 starts, described him as "the best and fastest I have ever ridden".
Having made a successful reappearance in Newbury's Lockinge Stakes this season, Canford Cliffs confirmed himself an outstanding miler when lowering the colours of the brilliant Goldikova in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Richard Hughes: rode Canford Cliffs on all 11 of his career startsPICTURE: Getty Images
Hopes were high in the Hannon camp that he would be a match for the year-younger Frankel at Goodwood, but he was never travelling with his usual ease and was already in trouble when he began hanging badly left in the closing stages, a clear indication that something was troubling him.
Speaking to his website, Hannon said that a "scan revealed that he had a shadow on his pastern, which could cause serious damage if we had gone on with him".
He added: "Canford Cliffs is too great a horse to take chances with, and I would hate anything even more serious to go wrong, so we have taken the decision to stop before the problems exacerbate.
"I knew it was not the real Canford Cliffs at Goodwood, and at least now we have a reason why we hung so badly. Frankel might be a superstar, but we were looking forward to taking him on again in the QEII at Ascot.
"There is no way that Frankel would have given our horse the beating he did had we been right. Canford Cliffs did so much for us and we will all miss him, but we have the memories and the videos, and, hopefully, we will have some of his sons and daughters back here at Herridge in the not too distant future."
Bloodstock agent Peter Doyle, who bought Canford Cliffs as a yearling, said: "Canford Cliffs' quality was always evident, he was a standout as a yearling. He is built like a tankand had a great walk and constitution too."
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