Picture: Highfield Princess blitzed her Nunthorpe Stakes rivals under jockey Jason Hart on Friday (Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Richard Birch (Racing Post)
Friday: Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes, York
High-flying mare Highfield Princess posted a famous win for trainer John Quinn and jockey Jason Hart.
The five-year-old, who began her career in handicaps off a mark of 57, added York’s premier sprint to the Prix Maurice de Gheest she landed at Deauville this month.
After travelling strongly just off the pace, Highfield Princess, backed from 10-1 to half those odds before the race, unleashed a sparkling turn of foot inside the final furlong to power past The Platinum Queen, the juvenile who had shown sizzling early speed, and score by two and a half lengths. Emaraaty Ana kept on to finish third.
Hart said: “It means even more to win a Group 1 on home soil at York. I was really confident all the way.
“The two-year-old [The Platinum Queen] gave us a good tow into the race, and I felt I could pick her up whenever I wanted. She won over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot last year and is definitely getting quicker.”
Quinn also paid tribute to his stable star, saying: “She’s a wonderful mare. She didn’t run at two, and has taken a while to learn her trade.
“This year she won the all-weather final at Newcastle, and then romped home in the Duke of York before running well in the Platinum Jubilee and winning the Group 1 at Deauville.
“She’s the most extraordinary horse I’ve ever trained, and I’ll put her in the Foret and Abbaye now before running her in the Breeders’ Cup.”
Disappointment of the race was the James Tate-trained Royal Aclaim, who had looked a potential sprint star in winning the Listed City Walls Stakes at York last month.
After showing up prominently under Andrea Atzeni, the three-year-old filly, sent off 5-2 favourite, proved one-paced from over a furlong out and could finish only sixth.
Highfield Princess became the seventh filly or mare to have landed the Nunthorpe in the last 11 runnings.