07 August 2022

Quinn sets out Breeders’ Cup aim for Deauville victor Highfield Princess

07 August 2022

John Quinn is targeting the Breeders’ Cup with his star mare Highfield Princess following her success in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

It was a first Group One win for the five-year-old and her jockey Jason Hart, who took the race by the scruff of the neck entering the final two furlongs.

The victory caps an impressive rise through the ranks, having won a handicap at Ayr off a mark of 58 just under two years ago.

She progressed to triumph at Royal Ascot last season over seven furlongs – again in handicap company – but this season her form has reached new heights, winning on All-Weather Finals Day and a Group Two at York before going close at Royal Ascot last time out.

Having burned off Naval Crown, who won the Platinum Jubilee at Ascot, a furlong out, she had to be game to fend off Minzaal and Garrus by three-quarters of a length and a head.

“She’s some mare. She’s just continued to progress,” said Quinn.

“We didn’t take her to Newmarket for the July Cup as it’s impossible to have an easy race in that and we’ve had this race in mind all season. She stays so well the trip was bound to suit.

“She’s in the Nunthorpe and she’s in the Haydock race (Sprint Cup), but our end game is the Breeders’ Cup.

“There’s the five-and-a-half-furlong sprint but there’s also a seven-furlong Grade One for fillies only on the dirt and that really appeals to us.

“I’d say the Nunthorpe is unlikely. She’s in the Flying Five at the Curragh and I like the look of that as it’s a win-and-you’re-in for the Breeders’ Cup, everything is paid for and the timing is perfect.

Haydock and Ascot on Champions Day have to be considered but for me it will be the Flying Five, the Abbbaye and the Breeders' Cup

“I’ll also run her in the Abbaye because she was second to Tone The Barone over five when I was getting her ready for Newcastle (Finals Day) and she’d have won with a clear run.

“Haydock and Ascot on Champions Day have to be considered, but for me it will be the Flying Five, the Abbbaye and the Breeders’ Cup – or if something came up we’d seriously consider Haydock.

“She’s the best. She ran a mighty race at Ascot, beaten just over a length and it didn’t quite fall for her. She went in under the radar today and didn’t deserve to. She was a bigger price than some she finished in front of at Ascot.

“All season the races in our heads were the Duke of York, Royal Ascot, the Maurice de Gheest and the Breeders’ Cup.

“It’s great to have a Group One winner for me and my family and for Yorkshire.

“The Wow Signal was a phenomenal horse, he won the Coventry and the Morny, but she’s snapping at his tail now. She’s five but she didn’t race at two and I think that has been massive. Her owner was very patient and it’s paid off.”

Jason Hart was delighted to notch a first Group One win (Richard Sellers. PA) (PA Wire)

Hart told Sky Sports Racing: “The boss had this race mapped out after Ascot and he is never far wrong when he targets one.

“She’s really special. She’s owned by John Fairley who owns John’s yard, he also bred her so it’s very special.”

Of his first victory at the top level, Hart added: “Obviously these are the races everyone wants to ride in.

“I’ve had a couple of near-misses, in the Abbaye with El Astronaute and Safe Voyage in the Foret, but it’s nice to come here and get a Group One.

“She’s very versatile regards trip and I was a small bit worried about the ground, but she proved me wrong.”

Paddy Power make Highfield Princess a 5-1 chance for the Flying Five on Irish Champions Weekend.

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