John Quinn’s speedy Highfield Princess leads home a superb Yorkshire one-two-three in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes at York
The five furlong sprint - the highlight of the third day of the £6m Sky Bet Ebor Festival - had again attracted a top class field.
But the horse, trained in Malton by John Quinn saw off allcomers to claim her second Group One in a fortnight having landed the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville earlier this month.
Richard Fahey’s The Platinum Queen, trained in the same town as the winner, blazed a trail off a featherweight of 8st 2lb in the hands of Hollie Doyle and looked set to become the first juvenile filly since Lyric Fantasy in 1992 to waltz away with this Group One prize. But Jason Hart and Highfield Princess (5-1) soon loomed large in the shadows to put her perfect blend of speed and stamina to expert use in the closing stages and storm to a going-away two-and-a-half-length victory.
The victory means she is the first horse since Handsome Sailor in 1988 to follow up victory in York’s 1895 Duke of York Stakes with the Nunthorpe and she was cut to 7-2 from 8-1 for Haydock’s Betfair Sprint Cup by the race sponsor to keep her Group One-winning run going next month.
However, Quinn is favouring one more run in France before heading to America for the Breeders’ Cup meeting in the autumn.
He said: “She didn’t run at two and it took her quite a while to learn her trade. She won three races as a three-year-old and then last year she won at Royal Ascot and she was placed in several Group races. This year she won the All-Weather Final at Newcastle and then we said we’d run in the Duke of York and she romped up.
“She ran very well at Royal Ascot and then she won well in France 12 days ago. She’s come back and won really well here.
“We put her in the Foret and the Abbaye, so all being well two more runs - Foret or Abbaye, and the Breeders’ Cup.
“I’m delighted to have her.”
Hart admitted that while the duo’s Deauville victory meant a lot, a Group One win on Yorkshire turf was even more special.
He said: “She gave me my first Group One winner a couple of weeks ago and it probably means more today to do it on home soil. She deserved it.
Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana - second 12 months ago came home in third.
Star Stayers Stradivarius and Trueshan might have beeen disappointing late withdrawals from the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup, but the York crowd saw another star in the making romp to success yesterday.
Hughie Morrison’s Quickthorn turned the race into a procession on the Knavesmire as he continued his rise up the staying ranks.
Second in both the Further Flight Stakes and Sagaro Stakes in April, he went on to land the Group Three Henry II Stakes at Sandown before adding the Group Two Prix Maurice de Nieuil at ParisLongchamp.
With Stradivarius (bruised foot) and Trueshan (fast ground) both absent, he brought up his hat-trick in facile fashion on the Knavesmire, with Tom Marquand dictating terms aboard the 9-4 winner to make every yard - and in a quick time.
A clearly impressed Marquand said: “I’m pretty blown away by him. Obviously I’ve ridden him the last few times and got a really good feel off him at Sandown and in France. When I pulled up in France I felt like I had a couple of gears left, but ultimately on these stayers you might be kidding yourself a bit.”
Stradivarius was bidding for a fourth success in the race and also to become the winning-most horse of the modern era at the track. But he was found to have a bruised foot yesterday morning and was withdrawn.