How many times did Canford Cliffs win at Royal Ascot?
Trained by Richard Hannon Snr. And ridden, exclusively, by Richard Hughes, Canford Cliffs was hailed by the latter as ‘one of the best racehorses we’ve seen in the last 50 years’. A son of Tagula, Canford Cliffs was bought by Hannon, as a yearling, for £50,000 in August, 2008, and made his racecourse debut in the colours of the Heffer Syndicate in a maiden stakes race, over 6 furlongs, at Newbury the following May.
He justified favouritism in effortless style, quickening clear in the closing stages to win by 7 lengths and headed to Royal Ascot as a leading fancy for the Group 2 Coventry Stakes. Once again, he was sent off favourite and, despite racing keenly, ran out and impressive, 6-length winner, prompting Hughes to call him a ‘freak’.
Three successive defeats followed, in the Prix Morny at Deauville, Greenham Stakes at Newbury and 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, but Canford Cliffs return to winning ways with a comfortable, 3-length victory over Free Judgement in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh. A month later, he reversed 2,000 Guineas form with stable companion Dick Turpin to win the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
After two more Group 1 wins, Canford Cliffs returned to Royal Ascot in 2011, where he recorded the third win of his career, with a battling victory over Goldikova in the Queen Anne Stakes. All told, Canford Cliffs won seven of his 11 starts, including five at Group 1 level, and just over £950,000 in prize money. He never finished outside the first three.