John Quinn is happy to “roll the dice” and give Highfield Princess a second shot at Royal Ascot glory this week in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes.
The six-year-old won three times at Group One level last season and following a narrow defeat on her reappearance at York, she was a hot favourite for the King’s Stand on Tuesday.
Highfield Princess came off second best in a battle with Bradsell and while she was undoubtedly impeded when delivering her challenge, a subsequent stewards’ inquiry deemed it did not affect the result.
Several horses have contested both of Royal Ascot’s Group One sprints before, with Blue Point doing the double in 2019, and Quinn can see no reason not to let his stable star take her chance.
“We left her down (at Ascot) all week and looked at her on Thursday morning and she seems fine, so we’re quite happy to roll the dice,” said the Malton-based trainer.
“Plenty of horses have run well in both races, so it’s doable. She seems bright and she’s no travelling to do, which is important.”
Highfield Princess finished sixth in the 2022 renewal of the six-furlong contest, three places behind Australian challenger Artorius, who this year heads the betting.
Anthony and Sam Freedman’s speedster has already won a Group One prize in his homeland this year and confidence is high that he can go two places better than 12 months ago on his return to Ascot.
“I am a bit more relaxed than last year and not under as much pressure,” said Sam Freedman.
“He is a lot shorter in the market and there is a bit more expectation, but last year it was the unknown and whether he was going to measure up – this year we know he is good enough.
“If you look at the form, he looks to be the horse with the best credentials and I think he has improved into his four-year-old season.
“I am not so concerned about the opposition, but more where he will end up and where he will get to in the run. I am confident taking on any of the sprinters in the world, but it is a case of getting the right transit and a bit of luck.”
Richard Gibson’s Hong Kong raider Wellington is another major player from overseas, while the home team includes the William Haggas-trained Sacred and Kinross from Ralph Beckett’s yard.
Connections of Sacred admit she may be more effective over a furlong further, but they are nevertheless keen to let her line up for a race in which she was beaten just a length into fifth place last year.
Chris Richardson, managing director for owners Cheveley Park Stud, said: “I think seven furlongs is is probably her optimum. We were hoping we might be able to stretch her to a mile, but we’re not convinced so we are dropping back.
“She ran one of her best races in this last year and we’ll roll the dice and see how she goes, but she’s in good form.”
Kinross enjoyed a fantastic campaign last season, winning at the highest level in the Prix de la Foret and the British Champions Sprint before finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
He has not been seen in competitive action since his trip to Kentucky, but is nevertheless a leading contender in the hands of Frankie Dettori.
“I think he handles firm ground but I think six on firm ground is a little bit quick for him, so you would prefer some rain,” said owner Marc Chan’s racing manager Jamie McCalmont.
“He only got beat two lengths in this last year (finished eighth) and he’s fresh and in great shape and ready to run.
“Hopefully it will set him up for his most important date when he tries to get Frankie his full house in the July Cup.”