Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The world's best miler

Strong Suit won well for a good recommendation. When in form, he's clearly a notch above anything else in that race at the distance.

They were 3 in contention, now they are down to 2. By soundly beating Goldikova, Canford Cliffs removed one formidable foe that could have halted his quest for being the world's best miler horse. Only the mighty Frankel now stands in his way. It's amazing how these 2 champions have scared away the opposition none of the colts that ran in the French, Irish or English Guineas (besides Frankel himself) will be present. Rajsaman and Rio de La Plata will be the only other ones trying to provide some challenge but it looks more like a lost cause really.

The official handicappers have it that if Frankel repeats his devastating run of the Guineas, he will be 10 pounds clear of Canford Cliffs' best and should win easily. There is no way, in any shape or form, that Canford Cliffs is 10 pounds inferior to Frankel. Unless tomorrow's race proves otherwise, it looks like these 2 colts will not be too far from each other at the finish; it might be by the bob of a head, a neck or a length, but it won't be by many lengths if they both produce their best, in my opinion.

Canford Cliffs is the real deal. After showcasing his abilities at 2, there were question marks whether he could shed his sprinter-type tag during his Classic season. After all, most progenies of Tagula would find a mile too taxing. But Cliffs can easily stay the distance and there are not many horses that possess his finishing kick. He's answered all question marks about him and while the course cambers of Goodwood are of concern to  his trainer, Hannon, there's not much of a chink in his armour.

Frankel, the horse on everyone's lips because no-one knows yet what he's capable or incapable of doing. After a stellar 2-year old season, he devastated his peers in such a grand fashion in the Guineas that talks of being "the best ever" were circulating around him. Yet, despite him winning the St James Palace Stakes at Ascot, the manner of his win mostly disappointed the racing world. He "only won" but did not display his dominant self that is expected of him. Connections were quick to point to the tactics and his rider seemed to go at pains to say that he had lots of horse left. One thing that every one seems to agree on is that such tactics will doom him against Canford Cliffs. Being a 3-year old, Frankel will have the advantage of an 8-pound deduction in the race. Not that he would really need it, but that could be the decisive factor in separating the two. This is certainly the reason the bookies have him at odds-against with Canford Cliffs at a more generous 1.5/1.

The racing world wants an undisputed champion, and if possible, an overly-dominant one. Frankel fits the bill and carries with him the hopes and dreams of an ever-increasing legion of fans. With Canford Cliffs, the expectations are more predictable and they are huge indeed. The ground will be good and will suit both. There will (hopefully) not be any hard-luck stories in this small field. In the end, the difference might be the weight difference. As far as a punting certainty goes, Canford Cliffs will be in the first 2, so is a sure Place recommendation. Frankel should be in the placings as well, but Cliffs is the surer thing. After all, he very well might win this thing and be of interest to punters looking for value.

This one should be a classic. Come to the fore the world's greatest miler. 

Place: Canford Cliffs

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