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Frankel vs Canford Cliffs …Bring on the Duel On The Downs!

19 Jul 2011

The most eagerly-anticipated head-to-head in the modern era of British Flat racing is all set for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on Wednesday 27 July. It's going to be unmissable!

Richard Hughes and Canford Cliffs bask in the glory of their Queen Anne Stakes triumph – their next assignment is taking on Frankel in the Duel on the Downs!  Image courtesy of

The world’s top three-year-old miler, Frankel, is going head-to-head with Canford Cliffs, the world’s top four-year-old miler, in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on Wednesday 27 July. Never has a clash between two thoroughbreds so excited and so divided the racing world.

The bookmakers can’t separate them – they are both around 11-10 for the highlight of Glorious Goodwood’s five day festival – while the public are similarly split down the middle as to which star will emerge triumphant in what is being billed as the "Duel on the Downs".

The blue-blooded Frankel, who was bred by his owner, Prince Khalid Abdulla from Saudi Arabia, would have cost a buyer a seven figure sum had he been sold at auction as a yearling and is now valued at £40m.

The street-wise Canford Cliffs, on the other hand, was born of much lesser stock, costing just £50,000 as a yearling.

Frankel has taken his races by the scruff of the neck, blowing his rivals away in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas in April with a devastating front-running performance, then striking for home early in the St James’s Palace Stakes to win his race with more than quarter of a mile to run.

Canford Cliffs, by contrast, likes to come fast and late in his races, using his electric burst of pace to hit the front well inside the final furlong.

Frankel is unbeaten in all seven of his career starts and has earned the joint highest rating of any thoroughbred in the world on 130.

Canford Cliffs has won his last five starts, all at the highest Group 1 level, and has earned a rating of 127, but because he tends to win his races only narrowly, could he find that little bit of “extra” needed to gun down Frankel in the shadow of the post?

Frankel had his last serious piece of work on the Newmarket training grounds this morning, delighting his trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, and jockey, Tom Queally.

Queally said: "He gave me a good feel. He settled beautifully and is growing up all the time."

Canford Cliffs, meanwhile, was the centre of attention at a media visit to the stables of his trainer, Richard Hannon, today.

Hannon reported his stable star, whom he describes as “the best horse I have ever trained”, to be in top form, adding: “"It’s going to be a great race and the tactics will be interesting.”

Between them they have dominated the Mile category in the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Series. Four races have been run so far, Frankel winning the two three-year-old only races and Canford Cliffs the two four-year-old and up races.

Now they are on a collision course for the fifth Series race and the racing world will hold its breath as the stalls burst open next Wednesday afternoon and the two miling superstars battle it out for supremacy in their duel on the beautiful Sussex Downs.

To book tickets for QIPCO Sussex Stakes day, CLICK HERE.