“Her Top Drawer Form Is Over Five Furlongs” – Highfield Princess Sets King George Standard

Highfield Princess | PA Sport

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Last terms's sprinting revelation Highfield Princess (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) may have missed the target on her three outing so far in 2023, but a pure speed test on soft ground in Goodwood's G2 King George Qatar S. provides the ideal scenario for John Quinn's indomitable 6-year-old to get back on track on Friday. This was the time of the season that she grew wings last summer, rattling off a trio of Group 1 victories in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, Nunthorpe and Flying Five within the space of five weeks and her trainer is hoping she is blooming again despite the contrasting weather to last year.

Second in the G1 King's Stand S. and third in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee S. on ground that was probably a touch too lively at the Royal meeting, she is at or very near the same level as 12 months ago. “She ran mighty races and we were thrilled with her to be placed in two Group 1s in five days,” Quinn said. “Last year we gave her a mid-season break, which she did seem to enjoy, and we have done the same this year but instead of going to Deauville we decided to go to Goodwood. There are no easy group races over any distance, but we thought possibly that the Goodwood race might be slightly easier than the Prix Maurice de Gheest.”

“Another factor is that the Prix Maurice de Gheest is six and a half furlongs. She is very versatile, but her top drawer form is over five furlongs so we thought we'd go to Goodwood and then all being well roll onto York,” he added. “All being well after Goodwood, we go to York for the Nunthorpe and then we would hope to go back to Ireland for the Flying Five. We had possibly thought about going to Australia for the Everest, but we don't know. I wouldn't rule out the Breeders' Cup again and, after the Breeders' Cup, there is the big Hong Kong Sprint in December.”

Perhaps the biggest danger to an on-song Highfield Princess is last year's G2 Sapphire S. winner Ladies Church (GB) (Churchill {Ire}), whose last two efforts resulted in an authoritative win in the Listed Sole Power Sprint S. and a fourth in the latest edition of the Sapphire. Beaten all ends up there by Art Power (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), that is no disgrace as that Easterby marauder is seemingly unstoppable on his Irish raids and Mark Dobbin's filly probably still has upside.

 

Thoroughbred Stepping Stone For Nostrum

While there was talk of the G1 Sussex S. and G1 Prix Jacques le Marois after the smooth return win of TDN Rising Star Nostrum (GB) (Kingman {GB}) in Newmarket's Listed Sir Henry Cecil S. at the July Festival, it is to the G3 Thoroughbred S. that Juddmonte's exciting homebred goes on Friday. This soft ground is not his bag, but there is potentially a class gulf to the likes of fellow TDN Rising Stars Epictetus (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) and Knight (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) and OTI Racing's Britannia H. winner Docklands (GB) (Massaat {Ire}).

“Of course we gave the Sussex S. consideration, but Sir Michael rightly pointed out and the owners agreed, why go from second gear to fifth? Let's go through the gears, we're looking at longevity and we don't want to kill the horse off with one run,” Juddmonte's European racing manager Barry Mahon said. “We're all thinking about stallions and commerciality, but it didn't do Baaeed any harm. He got to where he needed to get and if we can get there, we'll be happy. Ground-wise I don't think we're too concerned–a bit of cut in the ground will be fine for him.”

Later on the card, the Haggas's veteran Hamish (GB) (Motivator {GB}) has perfect conditions for a sixth Group 3 success in the Glorious S., while the easy ground will probably also help George Strawbridge's filly Mimikyu (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) as she bids to revive the form of her G2 Park Hill S. in September.

 

Little Big Bear Added To Maurice de Gheest

TDN Rising Star Little Big Bear (Ire) (No Nay Never) has been supplemented for Sunday's G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. Last seen finishing down the field in the G1 July Cup, he was one of 13 still in the mix for the 6 1/2-furlong contest. “We'll decide finally a little bit closer to the weekend, but the plan at the moment is to run,” Aidan O'Brien said. “The ground is testing over there at the moment, but it can dry up. He'd had the problem before Newmarket but since then he has been fine, no problems.”

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