Goodwood is gearing itself up for the eagerly-anticipated clash between Canford Cliffs and Frankel in the £300,000 Group One QIPCO Sussex Stakes, which takes place over a mile on Wednesday, July 27, day two of Glorious Goodwood.
Both horses were successful over a mile at Royal Ascot last Tuesday, with four-year-old Canford Cliffs defeating 13-time Group One winner Goldikova by a length in the Queen Anne Stakes while just over an hour later the Henry Cecil-trained Frankel, imperious six-length winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on April 30, extended his unbeaten record to seven races when taking the St James’ Palace Stakes.
The Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs has a QIPCO Sussex Stakes victory to his name already, having taken the honours last year when superbly ridden by Richard Hughes for a neck victory over Rip Van Winkle.
Richard Hannon junior, assistant trainer to his father (both pictured at Goodwood after Canford Cliffs’ victory last year), reported today: “Canford Cliffs came out of the Queen Anne fine and we are looking at either the QIPCO Sussex Stakes or possibly the Coral-Eclipse for him next. We will discuss it with the owners as it’s a question of one race or the other.
“I would be confident taking on Frankel at Goodwood. It will be a good race and hopefully we will win.”
Last week, Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Frankel’s owner Khalid Abdulla, stated in the Racing Post on Friday: “The Sussex Stakes is the race we would be looking at. It seems the obvious one to consider, though we will have to see how he goes up to then.”
Frankel will be taking on all-aged opposition for the first time should he line up in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes and will be bidding to become the eighth 2000 Guineas winner since 1945 to subsequently land the Sussex Stakes in the same season. The most recent horse to complete the double was the Aidan O’Brien-trained Henrythenavigator in 2008, while other colts to have won both races in the same season include giants of the turf Brigadier Gerard (1971) and Rock Of Gibraltar (2002). Interestingly, both of trainer Henry Cecil’s previous two 2000 Guineas winners, Bolkonski (1975) and Wollow (1976), progressed to take the Sussex Stakes.
First run in 1841, the Sussex Stakes was initially only open to three-year-olds. In 1960, four-year-olds were also allowed to compete and in 1975 it became an all-aged affair. The statistics since 1960 strongly favour Frankel, with 37 horses from the Classic generation having prevailed during that time, compared to nine four-year-olds.
Adam Waterworth, Goodwood’s Managing Director, commented: “The QIPCO Sussex Stakes has always been the first time the three-year-old champions meet the older horses over a mile, but rarely does the clash involve two stars of the quality and stature of Frankel and Canford Cliffs.
“The fact that Canford Cliffs is our reigning champion, and Frankel has been so breathtaking throughout his unbeaten career, simply adds to the duel, and both performances at Royal Ascot confirm these really are the best milers of their respective generations taking each other on in one of Europe’s most iconic mile races.
“Five weeks is a long time in any season, but I for one am looking forward to seeing this clash more than any Flat race I can remember for some time, and that is without taking into account the other great milers who will take to the stage on July 27.
“The QIPCO British Champions Series was devised to provide a focus for meetings such as these, and it is great that Goodwood will host such an important part of the first series.”
Glorious Goodwood runs from Tuesday, July 26, through to Saturday, July 30, and features high-class action every day. For further information and to buy tickets, please go to www.goodwood.co.uk