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Goodwood geared up for showdown

By Robert Jones

It has already been dubbed ‘the duel on the downs' and connections of Canford Cliffs and Frankel are readying themselves for what could be the latest in a season of epic battles in the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on July 27.

Frankel, who is unbeaten in seven starts including the 2000 Guineas, will meet older horses for the first time and he could hardly face a more formidable challenger than last year's winner Canford Cliffs.

Champion miler Canford Cliffs, who saw off Goldikova in the Queen Anne Stakes on the same Royal Ascot afternoon as Frankel was in action, was reported to be in great heart by Richard Hannon junior, son and assistant to trainer Richard. “He's pretty good,” he said. “He's had his two runs this season and it's just a matter of keeping him ticking over.

“He'll probably do a bit of work on Sunday and another serious bit next Wednesday.”

He went on: “It's a massive advantage to have been to the course before, and he'll be running against a three-year-old taking on older horses for the first time.

“I imagine we'll sit mid-division, keep an eye on where Frankel is, and just follow him. But I'll leave all that to Richard (Hughes, jockey). I don't remember a race I've looked forward to so much.

“Frankel's a very good horse who is worthy of the utmost respect. If you want to see who the best in the world is, be at Goodwood on (that) Wednesday.”

Hannon junior was at the Goodwood motor circuit on Monday morning, taking on Frankel's jockey Tom Queally and several other riders and trainers in super-powered Audis.

Canford Cliffs' jockey Richard Hughes is on a brief golfing holiday in Portugal but said by telephone: “I'm a huge admirer of Frankel, he's a hell of a horse.

“I think he's the best three-year-old over a mile we've seen for a long time. I'm not afraid to lose to him — there's no disgrace if he beats me — but vice versa as well.

“He did OK at Ascot last time. Olivier Peslier rode a great tactical race on Goldikova, and with a better gallop we might have won a bit easier.

“I rode the horse just before I left (for holiday). He felt great.”

Queally has ridden the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Frankel on every outing so far.

While he was praised for his boldness during the colt's electrifying victory in the Guineas, the young Irishman came in for criticism for being too positive at Royal Ascot, when Frankel eventually only scraped home.

Stan James offers the pair at even-money in a match bet, while Coral are 4-5 Frankel and 11-8 Canford Cliffs in their overall market.

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