The racing career of English super star Canford Cliffs has come to an end with a serious leg injury discovered after the conclusion of the Sussex Stakes.
Canford Cliffs was involved in one of the most anticipated match races of the decade when he faced off with then unbeaten Frankel, but he couldn’t get near him in their clash at Goodwood last week.
Connections felt something may have been wrong and sent him to the vets where their fears were confirmed with an injury discovered in his near-fore leg.
He had won an incredible five Group 1’s in a row before his last start defeat and unfortunately he now won’t get a Frankel re-match.
Trainer Richard Hannon says he had enormous gratitude towards the horse who will now stand at Coolmore Stud in the UK as of next year.
“Canford Cliffs was a very rare type in that he had such great early speed as a two-year-old, but also stretched out to be a superb miler at three and four. He is without doubt the best horse I have had in over 40 years as a trainer.
“It’s bitterly disappointing for his owners and for everyone here in East Everleigh that he had to be retired due to injury, but at least it does explain why he hung so badly at Goodwood. We were very much looking forward to taking on Frankel again.”
In his two-year-old season Canford Cliffs burst onto the scene winning the Coventry Stakes by a massive six lengths margin.
That earned him a rating of 118 but as a three year old things started more slowly.
He proved a little eager in his first and second up races although eh still managed to finish third in the Newmarket 2000 Guineas.
That is the period when his association with Richard Hughes became so important, the jockey teaching him to settle further back and then revealing his trademark turn of foot.
Over the next period he won the Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas, St James Palace Stakes and the Sussex Stakes.
Hughes reflected the thoughts of Hannon in his attitudes towards the horse saying he was easily the best horse he’d ever worked with.
The jockey rode him in all 11 career starts and built up an incredible mutual bond and understanding.
In his last season he won first up in the Lockinge Stakes and then went on to beat the French super mare Goldikova in the Queen Anne Stakes at the start of the Royal Ascot Carnival.
This run of form gave many hope that he’d become the first horse to beat Frankel but connections say they knew things weren’t 100 percent almost immediately after the race began.
Down the final straight he moved wildly from the inside rail to the far outside rail proving that there was definitely an issue.
Hannon broke the bad news on his website saying he and all involved were bitterly disappointed.
“A scan revealed that he had a shadow on his pastern, which could cause serious damage if we had gone on with him,” he said.
“Canford Cliffs is too great a horse to take chances with, and I would hate anything even more serious to go wrong, so we have taken the decision to stop before the problems exacerbate.
“I knew it was not the real Canford Cliffs at Goodwood, and at least now we have a reason why we hung so badly. Frankel might be a superstar, but we were looking forward to taking him on again in the QEII at Ascot.
“There is no way that Frankel would have given our horse the beating he did had we been right. Canford Cliffs did so much for us and we will all miss him, but we have the memories and the videos, and, hopefully, we will have some of his sons and daughters back here at Herridge in the not too distant future.”
Peter Doyle is the man responsible for discovering Canford Ciffs as a yearling as says he knew he was destined for greatness form the moment he saw him.
“Canford Cliffs’ quality was always evident, he was a standout as a yearling. He is built like a tank and had a great walk and constitution too,” he said.