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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Richard Hannon Blog: Canford Cliffs v Frankel - this is as good as it gets!

''So you going to win or not, Frankel?''
Sports fans still marvel at the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and the ‘Thriller in Manila’, but for racing professionals there has never quite been such a high expectation for any showdown as the “Duel on the Downs”, the clash between those equine giants Canford Cliffs and Frankel in the £300,000 Qipco Sussex Stakes at Goodwood today.

We are sometimes guilty of over-hyping our sporting events, but this really does look the archetypal head-to-head. It is the much-awaited clash of the generations, the unbeaten three-year-old who many claim will prove the horse of the decade against our own Canford Cliffs, the horse that Richard Hannon is adamant is the best that he has trained in more than 40 years with a licence and the one that sends shivers down the spine of Richard Hughes every time he climbs aboard.

The boss said:"Canford Cliffs has completed his preparation, and everything has gone smoothly. We have done all the talking and now Henry (Cecil) and I will leave it to the two horses.

"Obviously, tactics will play an important part, but I'll leave that to Hughesie. I stopped giving him riding instructions after I got it badly wrong with Zebedee at Royal Ascot last year, and he knows Canford Cliffs better than anyone.

"We have a lot of respect for Frankel, but we know the strengths of our horse and, hopefully, we will be the ones celebrating afterwards. We took the scalp of Goldikova and now we are after Frankel - it doesn't come any better than this, does it ?"

We have four of the seven runners in the G2 Vintage Stakes, which we won with King Torus last year.

The boss said:"Chandlery won here first time out, but he looked to appreciate stepping up to seven furlongs in the Superlative at Newmarket, and we have a 3lb pull with Red Duke for a neck beating, so he has an obvious chance. He is a lovely colt.

"Rockinante was impressive when making a winning debut at Newmarket, and, while the second (Burano) was beaten last week-end, we like ours. Similarly, Red Seventy has done nothing wrong, winning both his races in some style. He was just warming up at the end at Ascot, and, being by Sakhee, should benefit from stepping up in trip. Minal was beaten by Red Seventy at Salisbury, but he finally broke his maiden at Lingfield and deserves a crack at some black type."

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