Thursday 4 August 2011

Canford Cliffs: Retired

It is one thing for Richard Hannon to declare Canford Cliffs “the best I’ve trained”, but just as interesting is to note what a trainer of more than 40 years experience found most appealing about the colt, who was has been retired to stud.

Canford Cliffs’ record of seven wins from 11 starts tells you plenty about the level of his ability – especially as five victories came in Group One events – but what of him as an individual?
“He was just a lovely horse to deal with in every respect. He would always do what you asked and he stood up to the work well,” said Hannon in praise of the brilliant miler, who sustained a near-fore pastern injury in last week’s Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
Hannon hinted that he could have rested the colt and then persevered in the autumn. But, on balance, retirement was the sensible option, especially in view of the hefty Coolmore investment in him as a potential stallion.
“There was a bit of a shadow on the joint running into the pastern, and that could turn into something nasty. It was a fracture waiting to happen and I didn’t want to have to send him back [to Ireland] with a fracture,” he said.
Hannon made the point that the reason for Canford Cliffs hanging left in the closing stages of the Sussex Stakes, in which he finished a well-beaten second behind Frankel, was completely different to a similar trait displayed by the colt in the Greenham Stakes at the start of his three-year-old career. The pastern injury had been the reason at Goodwood.