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Canford dethrones golden girl


Canford Cliffs gets the better of Goldikova

Canford Cliffs gets the better of Goldikova

Canford Cliffs gets the better of Goldikova

Canford Cliffs dethroned last year's winner Goldikova to land the opening Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Cape Blanco was sent into an early lead by Jamie Spencer, with Goldikova's pacemaker Flash Dance soon challenging him, and Olivier Peslier brought the French wondermare to the front passing the furlong marker.

Richard Hughes followed her through and when the big two settled down to fight it out, 11-8 shot Canford Cliffs was always getting the better of the argument and passed the post a length ahead of the 5-4 favourite.

Cityscape briefly threatened to cause an upset down the outside and although he could not quite keep up with the front pair, he ran easily the best race of his career to finish third.

Winning trainer Richard Hannon said: "He's a very good horse. We had to take her on and she's obviously a very good horse too. He's got a very high cruising speed, but also a great turn of foot. That's the great thing. He's a very special horse to us.

"It will probably be the Sussex next. I left him in the Eclipse and I wouldn't mind giving him a chance at a mile and a quarter. Coolmore own half of him so we will have to see what they want to do. Whether they will let him go for it I don't know."

Hughes added: "Olivier rode a great race. He wouldn't kick and I couldn't kick until he did. I had to quicken to get to Goldikova, then I had to quicken again. I would say the last two furlongs were the fastest of the race.

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"I got lucky that I landed behind Goldikova and I was riding with gentlemen like Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori, who could have made it difficult for me. They didn't and I got right in her slipstream. He's an amazing horse. The best I've ever ridden."

Goldikova's trainer Freddie Head said: "I was very happy - Canford Cliffs is a very good horse. She saw daylight a little bit early, but she ran very well. We will probably look at the Prix Jacques le Marois next and, of course, the Breeders' Cup at the end of the year."

There was a surprising postscript when Peslier, who put up 2lb overweight, was fined £650 for changing his boots after weighing out.

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