Highfield Princess proved herself Europe’s top sprinter of 2022 by winning the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five at The Curragh.
Trained in England by Irishman John Quinn and ridden by English jockey Jason Hart, Highfield Princess has now won Group 1 race in France, England, and Ireland.
Paddy Twomey and Billy Lee who won the Group 1 Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, maintained their good form as Erosandpsyche came home three-and-a-quarter lengths second.
Flotus, trained in Britain by Ed and Simon Chrisford, who also had a winner on Day 1 of Longines Irish Champions Weekend, was the third place getter, half-a-length behind the runner-up.
Highfield Princess, a daughter of Night Of Thunder, won the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on 7 August, followed up with success in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York, England, two weeks later, and now achieves an incredible Group 1 in a third European country with success at The Curragh.
“She is one of the best sprinting fillies in the world – she is probably the best filly in Europe,” claimed her winning handler, County Tipperary-born John Quinn. “I let the horse do the talking. What she has done to win three Group 1s in France, England and come back here to wonderful Ireland is unbelievable – and in a short time.”
Carrying the colours of owner-breeder John Fairley, the Englishman owns the stables where John Quinn trains. Fairley has witnessed his star filly improve from winning an Ayr, Scotland, handicap off a mark of 58 only two years ago to winning three Group 1 races in a row, joining sprint greats such as Godolphin’s Blue Point, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Dayjur and Muharaar, and multiple Group 1-winner Black Caviar.
The five-year-old Highfield Princess, who today won €240,000, will now compete at the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint according to Quinn. Discussing the fantastic season the five-year-old has had, he admitted that not running until she was three years old now seems an advantage to the filly:
“I think not racing her at two probably helped her. The win is down to the wonderful staff and the filly.”
As the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series ‘Win And You’re In’ race, Highfield Princess earns an automatic berth in this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. Discussing the trip to Keeneland in November, John Quinn said:
“We’re absolutely thrilled and as long as she is ok, it’s the Breeders’ Cup. She has been everywhere. In the spring she was working very well and I said to my son Seán ‘If this filly improved, I’d love to see her go around Keeneland – two bends, five and a half furlongs’, so as long as she is ok, that is what we are aiming for.”
Photo by Breandán Ó hUallacháin