07/26/2010 2:20PM

Canford Cliffs out to continue hot streak in Sussex Stakes at Goodwood


Canford Cliffs goes in search of his third consecutive Group 1 mile triumph at Goodwood on Wednesday when he squares off against defending title-holder Rip Van Winkle in the $465,000 Sussex Stakes. The winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas and the St. James’s Palace Stakes, Canford Cliffs is Ladbrokes’ 4-6 favorite as he lines up for the fifth time this season.

While his three-length Guineas victory was visually more impressive than his one-length tally at Royal Ascot, Canford Cliffs’ St. James’s Palace score came at the expense of his talented Richard Hannon-trained stablemate Dick Turpin, who subesuently landed the one-mile, Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. Hannon will give a leg up to Richard Hughes on Canford Cliffs, a Tagula 3-year-old, who will receive eight pounds on the scale of weights from Rip Van Winkle.

Aidan O’Brien has taken the unusual move of naming an English jockey to ride Rip Van Winkle, as his regular rider, Johnny Murtagh, is still serving a suspension for careless riding aboard the victorious Starspangledbanner in the July Cup. Last year Rip Van Winkle followed his Sussex victory with a win in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but this son of Galileo has failed twice since then, finishing 10th in Zenyatta’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and sixth in Goldikova’s Queen Anne Stakes on June 15. He should improve for that latest effort but faces a tough nut to crack in Canford Cliffs as Ladbrokes 5-2 second choice.

Premio Loco has won his last two and four of his last six for trainer Chris Wall, but Premio Loco, a gelded 6-year-old son of Prized, is climbing the Group 1 heights for the first time. He followed a win in the seven-furlong, Group 3 Criterion Stakes with a career best in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot on July 10 and could sneak into second if Rip Van Winkle falters again. His connections must be encouraged by the presence of Dream Eater, who was third in the Queen Anne, 4 1/4 lengths in front of Rip Van Winkle. Premio Loco than beat Dream Eater into third in the Summer Mile.

Beacon Lodge has hopes for a place off his four-length second to the progressive Fuisse in the Group 3 Prix Messidor, but O’Brien’s second string, Beethoven, has failed twice since his Dewhurst Stakes victory in October.

King Torus, the neck winner of the seven-furlong, Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket three weeks ago for Hannon, will be challenged by stablemate and five-length Lingfield maiden winner Major Art in the $124,00, Group 2 Vintage Stakes for 2-year-olds at seven furlongs. Stentorian, second in a Leopardstwon listed race behind subsequent Group 3 Tyros Stakes winner Zoffany, picks up the services of Frankie Dettori, while Crown Prosecutor and Waltz Darling, both 2 for 2 against lesser, get their acid tests.