John Quinn was making no excuses for Highfield Princess after the superstar mare had to make do with minor honours in her bid for back-to-back victories in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe at York.
Success in the five-furlong contest was the middle leg of a Group One treble for the the six-year-old last summer, with her Knavesmire triumph sandwiched by two other top-level wins in the Prix Maurice de Gheest in France and the Flying Five in Ireland.
Having twice run well in defeat at Royal Ascot in June, Highfield Princess enjoyed a confidence-boosting win at Goodwood three weeks ago and hopes were high that she could successfully her crown – but in Live In The Dream she faced a rival who had failed to read to script.
With her regular partner Jason Hart in the saddle, Quinn’s ace looked to be perfectly positioned throughout as she tracked a fierce pace set by the Adam West-trained outsider.
But try as she might, Highfield Princess was unable to reel in the all-the-way winner, with a length separating them at the line.
“She ran a great race, well done to the winner – that’s racing,” Quinn said.
“The winner got away and well done to them. She’s run a fantastic race and she’s a horse of two lifetimes.
“As long as she’s all right we’ll go to the Curragh (Flying Five), that’s the plan.”
Three-quarters of a length behind Highfield Princess in third was her Royal Ascot conqueror Bradsell, who had been kept fresh by Archie Watson since that victory in the King’s Stand.
There is every chance the pair will lock horns again before the season is out.
Watson said: “Probably the draw has probably worked against us, because the winner has blazed a trail and stuck on really well and that has probably favoured Highfield Princess in our battle for second.
“Hollie (Doyle) was very happy when the two-year-old has gone quick on our side, Big Evs, but she’s had to tack across to try and latch on to the other two.
“He’s rUn a huge race and I would imagine the Flying Five and possibly the Abbaye, but we will see and the Flying Five will be next.”
On the possibility of encountering more testing conditions in France, the trainer added: “The Abbaye would probably be my less favoured race, I would prefer to go Ireland and then America (Breeders’ Cup), but we’ll see.
“Ground-wise, until he runs on it we don’t really know, but when I was at William Haggas’ we had Tasleet (SIRE) and he loved it heavy so until he runs in it and tells us he doesn’t like it we don’t know.”