‘Better than winning the lottery’: Trainer John Quinn lauds Nunthorpe Stakes’ victory for Highfield Princess as mare with humble beginnings continues stunning form
- Highfield Princess raced to victory in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday
- The mare completed a stunning rags-to-riches crowning story with her latest win
- Jockey Jason Hart rode superbly to win by two-and-a-half-lengths in York
- Trainer John Quinn claimed that victory was ‘better than winning the lottery’
The rags-to-riches story of Highfield Princess is complete after she stormed to a two-and-a-half-length win in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, prompting trainer John Quinn to say victory was ‘better than winning the lottery’.
Landing a career-first Group One success 12 days earlier in the six-and-a-half-furlong Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville had been special for the Jason Hart-ridden mare trained 20 miles from the track at Malton.
After all, this was a mare beaten off a handicap rating of 57 on her first try in a handicap in a modest event at Doncaster in August 2020.
Highfield Princess completed her rags-to-riches story by winning the Nunthorpe Stakes
Jockey Jason Hart (red cap) rode the mare to a two-and-a-half-length win in York on Friday
But to come out on top on only the second try in her 29-race career at five furlongs — and arguably over the fastest speed test in British racing — was something else for a horse whose rating has almost doubled to 112.
The prize yesterday was also a ‘win-and-you’re in’ entry for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland in November and Quinn will be checking his passport because he intends Highfield Princess trying to write another chapter of her fairy story on the other side of the Atlantic.
After his mare had beaten Richard Fahey-trained The Platinum Queen with Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana in third for a Yorkshire-trained 1-2-3, Quinn said: ‘It’s unbelievable. It’s better than winning the lottery. What can you do with money?
‘To do it at York means everything. We love the place and all my family are here. It gives everybody optimism. I didn’t think she would do that but she is a phenomenal mare.
Hart rode superbly to helped guide Highfield Princess to a sensational victory
‘I will run her in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp (on Arc day) but the end game was always going to be the Breeders’ Cup. She has loads of tactical speed. Five and half furlongs around two bends will be right up her alley.’
Hart added: ‘I don’t think the boss gets the recognition he deserves. He turns horses out year after year and gets them to keep improving.
‘I had been riding 11 years and had not ridden a Group One winner, now I have two in 12 days. She means a hell of a lot to me.’
Highfield Princess trainer John Quinn claimed victory was ‘better than winning the lottery’
Meanwhile, the withdrawal of Stradivarius (bruised foot) and Trueshan (fast ground) robbed the Lonsdale Cup of its biggest names but trainer Hughie Morrison was not rueing their absence after Quickthorn galloped to a 14-length win.
Jockey Tom Marquand established a 20-length early lead but it would be a disservice to Quickthorn to suggest he was simply the beneficiary of an opportunist ride.
A clash with Trueshan in the Prix du Cadran at Longchamp in October is on the cards, while the Doncaster Cup next month is the next possible race for Stradivarius.
Charlie Appleby-trained Noble Style is 7-1 for next year’s 2,000 Guineas after his impressive win in yesterday’s Gimcrack Stakes.