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Hannon star's cliff-edge win

Richard Hughes was poetry in motion as he brought star three-year-old miler Canford Cliffs through to snugly deny Rip Van Winkle back-to-back runnings of the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

No sooner had trainer Richard Hannon registered his 50th winner at the meeting than his son-in-law provided him with the 51st in the Group One feature.

The Hannon family have dominated proceedings on the Sussex Downs this week and Canford Cliffs followed up his Irish 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes successes to gift them their fourth win.

The Classic generation have held sway since the Sussex became an all-aged event in 1975 and Canford Cliffs continued the trend with the 25th three-year-old win by obliging as the 4/6 favourite.

Hannon nominated the colt's free-running style as the reason for his defeat in the 2000 Guineas and Greenham. But, having taught him to settle, that energy has been harnessed into one of the world's most powerful turn of foots.

Hughes restrained the market leader early and moved closer as Rip Van Winkle took over from his pacemaking stablemate Encompassing inside the final two furlongs.

Aidan O'Brien's four-year-old charged into the clear air bidding to become the only consecutive winner of the race, but Hughes was alive to his move and brought Canford Cliffs through to challenge inside the distance.

A devastating burst of speed brought him upsides and as the partnership went a neck clear, Hughes was able to ease down for a sweet victory. "He is the best I have trained and I hope to God that he stays in training next year," said Hannon.

"He is a great horse and always has been. He got some stick about not staying but he just needed to settle.

"He has a lovely turn of foot and Paco Boy was in the same position as him last year but could not pick up and go by Rip Van Winkle.

"The way he has improved has been unreal. Richard rode him in work the other morning and said he had come on 7lb from Ascot.

"The QEII and the Jacques le Marios are obvious races, but if we can get a deal done with a stud for them to allow us to race him next year I will be happy to finish him now for the season as he has won three Group Ones.

Awesome

"If we can keep him then I think he will be an awesome horse next year."

Hughes added: "Rip Van Winkle kicked and went three lengths up and we still nearly won on the bridle. He is just so talented at whatever he does and nothing can live with him at home.

Hannon ruled out going beyond a mile with Canford Cliffs, something which O'Brien is keen to try again with runner-up Rip Van Winkle.

He said: "He could run over a mile, 10 furlongs or even 12 -- all those races are open to him as he's very versatile."

Premio Loco was added to the field for £19,500 after his recent Group Two win at Ascot and recouped that fee and more by finishing a little over three lengths adrift in third. His trainer Chris Wall said: "It was worth the run -- the owner has got his money back with interest. He has options in Germany or maybe to come back here for the Celebration Mile."


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