I almost felt sorry for Cityscape. As three horses joined the battle outside the furlong marker, it was him that I knew did not belong. He's a nice horse, the five-year-old stakes winning son of Selkirk, but I mean come on. Talk about finding your way into a gunfight armed only with a switchblade. For today's Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes was a match-up of titans. Second raters need not apply. The worlds most magnificent milers going at it for the current title of world's best miler. In one corner you had the mighty mare, Goldikova. Winner of three consecutive Breeders' Cup Miles and quite possibly the most accomplished miler in history. Lining up to face her for the first time was the excellent colt, Canford Cliffs, who was coming off an impressive run of four straight group one wins. Make no mistake, this was the best match-up of the year so far.
After vanquishing the big run from Cityscape, the two set off on a majestic battle fitting of their stature. In the end it was the four-year-old male, Canford Cliffs, denying the superstar six-year-old mare Goldikova the victory. A victory that would have been 14th Group One victory in her remarkable career. In the process, Canford Cliffs made a solid claim to the title as the best miler not only in Europe, but surely the entire world. That is how good these two horses that faced off today at Royal Ascot really are.
Before unleashing his devastating turn of foot, Canford Cliffs, under regular rider Richard Hughes was able to wait and track the slightly favored female. When it was time to go he confidently made his move, and the race was on. I will let replay of the race speak for itself.
Afterward the connections of both of the top two were pleased with the result. Trainer Richard Hannon, had tested Goldikova before, but never with his best colt. In the winner's circle he proudly declared that horses like his don't come along very often. Canford Cliffs won a big race for the third consecutive year at Royal Ascot, and now can be considered the king of the hill after knocking off the queen. It was his his fifth consecutive win in group 1 company.
For Goldikova, the loss was anything but disgrace, and sets her up well for a season that is destined for an attempt at an almost unimaginable fourth consecutive Breeders' Cup victory. Trainer Freddy Head took the loss in stride, and went as far as to say that she is as good as ever. Surely this can't be good news for Americans pointing for the Mile. And as good as Canford Cliffs is, maybe we will have the ultimate thrill of seeing the two of them do battle at Churchill Downs.
[Does Goldikova still deserve her #1 spot on the HRN Power Rankings of Active Horses?]