Princess Zoe Given Potenital Hurdles Option

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Princess Zoe

The smart mare Princess Zoe for trainer Tony Mullins has been the apple of his eye on the flat over the last few years and having not sold at the Tattersalls sales last week, she could now be sent over hurdles.

Princess Zoe really made a name for herself two years ago having made a massive rise through the ranks from a horse off a mark of 64 to winning Group One events.

Having moved over to Tony Mullins' yard from Germany, the handler did not know what to expect with the mare and in the June of that year she was sent to Navan where she finished a good second in a handicap event.

She then headed to the Curragh where she broke her duck in Ireland winning another good handicap and then raced three straight times at Galway and won all he races landing four straight races in a row and becoming a specialist at the track.

Having never raced further 1m4f, stepping up a mile looked strange but it was a genius stroke by the handler as late on in the day the mare managed to stay on best of all to land the event, to the delight of her connections and trainer.

The seven year old was bidding for a sixth successive win on her return to Paris for the Prix Royal-Oak and although not going on to win, she was far from disgraced in finishing fourth behind the Mark Johnston-trained Subjectivist.

Two seasons ago she started of the season with both of her runs being below par, with Mullins trialling her over lesser trips and it not working out.

However, she then gave her best run of the season when upped back in trip on good to firm ground at Royal Ascot in the Group One Gold Cup when a five length second the smart Subjectivist.

She was seen twice more that season when a narrow second in the Group One Irish St Leger and then fifth of 13 over in France in the Prix du Cadran.

Mullins first targeted her this year at the expensive handicap at Riyadh in February but it did not work about and apart from her second run of the year when winning the Group The Sagaro Stakes at Ascot, she was below par in her other five races.

The German-bred mare rose to mark of 113 at the beginning of 2022 and was added as a wildcard entry to the Tattersalls December Mares Sale last week.

However, her price did not meet the expectations of connections, so owners Patrick Kehoe and Philomena Crampton are now mulling over a potential change of code to hurdles.

Mullins said: “We had a few enquiries (after the sale) and we felt we weren’t getting what we stated before we left. We said if got £300,000, we’d take it and we had a few enquiries just under it, but we said we were keeping her if we didn’t get it.

“Paddy loves jump racing and he has been asking me. I said we’d start riding her out again and we will school her and see.“But we have no decision made. If she jumps well and if she takes to it, we’ll see.“

That is what she was bought to do in the first place. Then she just turned out she was a better filly than we thought.

“I will get her riding out now and we will probably have her jumping by Christmas.“We haven’t made a decision, but that is definitely on Paddy’s mind – he’s a jumping man at heart. We are going to consider it.”

Mullins says he has every confidence that she will stay well over jumps, should the connections choose to go down that route.

“The fun we had with her will never be equalled,” he added.

“If she takes to jumping, I’ve no worries about trips.“We could do with a few more horses who could run as fast as her. We’ll write to Santa, maybe he’ll send us one!”