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Horse Racing profile: Highfield Princess

John Quinn's mare Highfield Princess became a sprinting sensation during 2022, taking her form to new levels and netting a stunning hat-trick of Group 1 wins.

The speedy six-year-old has enjoyed another solid year on the track, recording victories at Goodwood and Longchamp in 2023 after two near-misses at Royal Ascot.

Modest beginnings for Quinn's charge

The daughter of Night Of Thunder certainly didn't display her prodigious talents from the get-go in her racing career.

It took five goes to get on the board, winning a seven-furlong Ayr handicap off a mark of 58 in September 2020.

Three further wins arrived on the all-weather before that year was out, but a step up into Listed company at Deauville in December would see her coming up well shy over 7½-furlongs.

The 2021 campaign once more saw her racing almost exclusively at seven furlongs, with a win at Haydock followed by Royal Ascot glory in the Buckingham Palace Stakes.

Listed success was then achieved at Chelmsford in midsummer before a succession of group-race efforts back on turf that saw her getting run down late in her races.

To that end, Quinn took the chance to contest the Group 1 Champions Sprint at Ascot in October and his filly was a creditable sixth of 20, without necessarily hinting at just how good her future might be as a sprinter.

Season of all seasons

The 2022 campaign was initially a slow burner. Her fourth start, all on the all-weather, yielded a seven-furlong win at Newcastle in April on All-Weather Finals Day.

A comfortable York Group 2 win in May at the Dante Festival was next, the standout effort of her career so far, before she got within a length-and-a-half of the winner in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot over six furlongs.

From there, Highfield Princess would embark on a stunning five-week spree that would yield a trio of top-level successes.

The stunning sequence began in France as Highfield Princess took care of Minzaal - who would land Haydock's Sprint Cup a month later on his final start - en route to landing the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville for her Group 1 breakthrough.

That win was over 6½-furlongs and, in that mood, Quinn elected to tackle the Nunthorpe at York over the minimum trip 12 days later.

There his charge brushed aside a strong field including The Platinum Queen and Dragon Symbol as she scored by two-and-a-half-lengths and pocketed over £300,000 in prize money.

There was more to come on Irish Champions Weekend as Highfield Princess, now a sprinter at the top of her game, justified favouritism in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh.

With three Group 1s in five weeks Highfield Princess has established herself as the best sprinter in training across Europe. She ended her stellar year by running fourth in a messy and rough renewal of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland in November.

More success in 2023

Having found such a blistering spell of form over that five-week run late last summer, the inevitable question was could Highfield Princess do it all again at six-years-old?

Started off the year with a close second in the Duke Of York Clipper Stakes behind Azure Blue, Highfield Princess was next seen at Royal Ascot when again claiming the silver medal in the King's Stand Stakes on the opening day of the Festival.

Quinn's charge was then given a crack at the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes on the final day at Ascot, finishing third behind shock winner Khaadem.

Highfield Princess returned to the winners' circle at Goodwood in the King George Qatar Stakes, ending up three lengths clear of White Lavender, before being edge out by Live In The Dream at York in the Nunthorpe Stakes.

A disappointing fifth at the Curragh followed in September before the six-year-old bounced back with a Group 1 victory at Longchamp in the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp Longines last time out.

One last 2023 appearance

Connections will bide their time before deciding where Highfield Princess will be going next, with one overseas run likely before the end of the year.

Quinn says the team will let the dust settle after the recent Longchamp success, but he did reveal it will be either Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on 4th November or the Longines Hong Kong Sprint on 10th December next for his charge.

Highfield Princess is the 7/2 favourite for the Breeders' Cup, ahead of 9/1 Bradsell and 10/1 Live In The Dream.

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