Below Par Highfield Princess Aimed At The Prix de l'Abbaye After Curragh Flop

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Highfield Princess

Group One superstar Highfield Princess was below par when seen on Sunday in her title defence of the Group One Flying Five Stakes and now John Quinn is aiming her at bouncing back in the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye.

The six-year-old has been a superstar for her connections throughout the last few years starting off by winning a handicap off a mark of 58 and she is now rated 117.

Last season she took her form in the sprinting division to a new level winning the Group Two Duke Of York Clipper Stakes and then heading to Royal Ascot and finishing a credible sixth of 24 in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes.

Off the back of that run she went on to win a hat-trick of Group One races, firstly in France when taking the Prix Maurice De Gheest on good to soft ground and then in August on much quicker ground went on to bolt up in the Nunthorpe Stakes off top weight.

Her final win of the season came at the Curragh when again bolting up in this event and that set up a trip to America for the Breeders' Cup.

Finishing off her season at Keeneland in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint she was a very good fourth behind the likes of Caravel, Emaraaty Ana and Creative Force.

Returning this season as a six year old trainer John Quinn was unsure if she will train on at her age, but she put up a superb performance in the Group Two Duke Of York Clipper Stakes to finish 1/2 a length second to Azure Blue giving her 5lb.

That set her up perfectly for her next run in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot where she was only beaten by a length from Bradsell who was getting 3lb.

Connections decided to turn her out later in the week at the same Royal Ascot meeting and once again she ran another superb race to finish a close up third of 16 in the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes.

Dropped into a much easier event at Glorious Goodwood in the Group Two King George Qatar Stakes, she made a mockery of the field to bolt up by three lengths.

Last seen trying to defend her title in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes she succumbed to the shock winner from the front Live In The Dream, but ran a credible race being best of the rest in second.

Looking to go one better and make it back to back wins in the Group One Flying Five Stakes, she fell out the stalls and although finishing well never recovered and could only finish back in fifth.

It was a rare poor run from the highly consistent six-year-old who has been a real force on the sprinting scene over the past two seasons and, although reported to be coughing and showing signs of being in season by the vet post-race, Quinn believes Highfield Princess’ troubles at the start played a key role in her bad day at the office.

(Credit ATR) “She was scoped afterwards and was absolutely fine so the coughing was just mud that was kicked back because she got behind early on so she was fine on that front,” explained Quinn.

“Missing the break did not help her. Jason said she lost her hind legs when she came out and with the first stride she took her hind legs went. She was on the back foot straight away and did well to finish where she did in the end. It’s just one of those things and these things can happen.”

Quinn added: “She’s fine this morning. We’ll have a good look at her and if she is OK we will run her in the Abbaye.”