Canford Cliffs showed no signs of rust as he stormed past longshot Worthadd for an easy victory in the JLT Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at Newbury Racecourse May 14.
The one-mile Lockinge brought together a small but high class field of seven older horses highlighted by three group I winners. In addition to Canford Cliffs, trainer Richard Hannon sent out Dick Turpin, while Henry Cecil was represented by Twice Over.
Italian raider Worthadd, ridden by Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winning jockey Mirco Demuro, broke alertly and went straight to the front. Sensing a slow pace, Tom Queally moved early with Twice Over, and the pair soon joined Worthadd on the front end. They were tracked closely by Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs, with Premio Loco and Balthazaar's Gift bringing up the rear.
With two furlongs left to run, Worthadd continued to lead as Twice Over began to fade along the rail. Canford Cliffs loomed just behind Worthadd, as Dick Turpin was caught between horses and lacked running room.
Canford Cliffs drew alongside Worthadd and the two rivals dueled for a few strides until the son of Tagula gained the advantage and began to pull away. Geared down in the final yards by Richard Hughes, Canford Cliffs won comfortably by 1 1/4 lengths.
Worthadd held on for second, finishing 2 3/4 lengths in front of Premio Loco. Dick Turpin, who never was able to get a clean run, had to settle for fourth, and Twice Over faded to finish sixth.
The fiinal time for the mile was 1:36.52 over a course listed as good to firm.
An emotional Hannon told reporters after the race, “He’s the best horse I’ve ever had.”
Canford Cliffs will now be pointed toward the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot, and a probable meeting with superstar Goldikova.
“I relish (the challenge)” said Hughes. “I’m looking forward to Ascot and then (meeting) Frankel somewhere down the line.”
Bred in Ireland by S and S Hubbard Rodwell, Canford Cliffs is by the French group I winner Tagula, and out of the Marju mare, Mrs. Marsh. He is owned by the partnership of the Heffer Syndicate, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.