Trainer Richard Hannon has hailed Canford Cliffs as the best horse he has ever trained after the champion racehorse was retired to stud due to injury sustained in last week’s duel with Frankel at Goodwood.
The four-year-old enjoyed a quite brilliant racing career, winning seven of his 11 racecourse starts and finishing either second or third on his other four appearances.
The son of Tagula first burst on to the scene with an electric performance in the Coventry Stakes as a juvenile and victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas last season ignited a run of form which saw him win five successive Group One prizes.
The most notable scalp claimed was that of 14-time Group One-winning mare Goldikova in this year’s Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, but his next start would prove to be his last.
The highly-anticipated “Duel on the Downs” with Frankel turned into something of a one-sided affair as Frankel surged to a brilliant success, but Hannon and his team were left scratching their heads after Canford Cliffs’ comprehensive defeat.
They subsequently found their star performer to be suffering from a pastern injury and have made the decision to call time on his racing career for fear of the problem developing into something more serious.
“He has a bit of a shadow on the joint running into the pastern and that could turn into something nasty – it could turn into a fracture,” said Hannon.
“He’s a perfectly sound horse and I could very nearly go on training him, but under that light, I don’t want to do the horse any damage as he’s done us so proud.
“It’s a terrible shame – it’s heartbreaking, but I don’t want to see him end up with a bad injury.
“He’s been a fantastic horse for the yard.
“He’s won five Group Ones – you really can’t do much more than that. It’s bitterly disappointing.”