Canford Cliff surges past stablemate Dick Turpin for a superb winPicture: Edward Whitaker/racingpostpix.com
Canford Cliffs pure class in St James's Palace
Report: Royal Ascot, Tuesday
St James's Palace Stakes (Group 1) 1m (round), 3yo colts
CANFORD CLIFFS swept through the field to follow up his Irish 2,000 Guineas win - and finally turn the tables on stablemate Dick Turpin - with a brilliant victory over a top-class line-up.
Richard Hannon's stable star - who twice had to play second fiddle to Dick Turpin this season, including when third behind Makfi in the 2,000 Guineas - was ridden with supreme confidence in midfield by Richard Hughes and was cantering behindthe leaders with two furlongs to run.
As Hughes pulled him out to challenge, his rivals folded one by one and only his old nemesis, Dick Turpin, who had kicked for home under Ryan Moore, and the running-on Hearts Of Fire looked likely to put up a fight.
However, Hughes and 11-4 joint-favourite Canford Cliffs quickly settled the argument, cruising to the lead and quickening in style for an authoritative one-length win, with the Pat Eddery-trained Hearts Of Fire (Jimmy Fortune) putting in a career-best effort to finish a further three-quarters of a length back.
Winning trainer Richard Hannon said: “All he neededto do was settle in his races - there was no doubt he was going to get a mile.”
Hannon, who also trains runner-up Dick Turpin, added: “I’m very lucky to have two very good horses. It is always lovely to win here, obviously.
"We've several options now - among which are the Sussex Stakes (at Goodwood in July) and the Prix Jacques Le Marois (at Deaulville in August)."
Hughes said: “I had to get my horse to settle. I said all week I knew I was on the best horse, but I just needed a bit of luck in running. I could afford to give them five lengths riding on a horse like Canford Cliffs.
"He just might have hit a flat spot andI soon got him going again, and he's beaten a very good horse in Dick Turpin too.
Hughes admitted he was worried when Canford Cliffs shed a shoe turning for home but added: "Being on him is like getting into a Rolls Royce insteadof a Morris Minor. The difference is unbelievable. You just sit on him - everything is smooth and he is electric."
Siyouniand Noble's Promise - on raiding missions from France and the US - were fourth and fifth, while 2,000 Guineas winner Makfi, the other 11-4 joint-favourite, was something of a disappointment, finishing only seventh.
However, Makfi's trainer Mikel Delzangles said afterwards: "Makfi coughed a little after the race and we will have him scoped - he never had any gas."
Makfi was later found to have an inflamed throat and rider Olivier Peslier aded: "I never thought for a moment Makfi would win. When I asked a question there was nothing there."
Ballydoyle challengers Beethoven, Steinbeck and Encompassing fadded to finish sixth, eigth and ninth respectively after sharing pacemaking duties - not always in the expected order, as Steinbeck took over to lead the field from Beethoven and Encompassing after two furlongs.