The duel that everyone has been waiting for didn’t disappoint at Royal Ascot on Tuesday as Canford Cliffs stalked last year’s winner Goldikova throughout the race before going on to win the G1 Queen Anne Stakes by a length from the French mare.
The Richard Hannon-trained winner, who is set to retire to Coolmore next year, has now won at three consecutive Royal Meetings, having landed the G2 Coventry Stakes in 2009 and last year’s G1 St James’s Palace Stakes.
Jockey Richard Hughes declared the winner to be the best horse he’s ever ridden, saying: “Olivier Peslier rode a tactical race on Goldikova. He wouldn’t kick and I couldn’t kick until he did. My concern three [furlongs] out was that the race was starting to happen as Frankie Dettori came up beside me on Rio De La Plata.
“It was hard to pull it off. Olivier was quickening but he wanted to get as close to the winning post as he could before kicking. I like the way Canford Cliffs put his head down and galloped to the line. Sometimes he doesn’t do that at home once he has passed his lead horse.”
Richard Hannon, the jockey’s father-in-law, said: “These kind of horses don’t come along very often. He had a good lead from Goldikova and Hughesie didn’t lose sight of her. Thankfully when it came to it he was able to go by her. It’s a shame really for anyone to beat the mare as she’s been so good but someone has to take her on.
“I get pretty emotional about him – it’s hard not to, we spend so much time with these horses. His real strength is his high cruising speed together with a turn of foot.”