August 19, 2022: Highfield Princess #11, ridden by Jason Hart wins the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) at York Racecourse in York, United Kingdom on August 19th, 2022. Shamela Hanley/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM
The Trainers House Enterprises Ltd-owned and bred Highfield Princess (FR) produced a brilliant display to win the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes (G1) at York on Friday. The victory secured Highfield Princess a guaranteed start in the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 82 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 4-5.
Highfield Princess becomes the third horse to gain a Win and You’re In berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint this year, joining Casa Creed, the Jaipur Stakes (G1) winner at Belmont Park on June 11, and Nature Strip (AUS), who won the King’s Stand Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot on June 14.
Highfield Princess will now be aimed at another top-level contest in France, before heading to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November, according to her trainer John Quinn: “She’s the most extraordinary horse I’ve ever trained, and I’ll put her in the (Prix de la) Foret and Prix de l’ Abbaye (at ParisLongchamp) now before running her in the Breeders’ Cup.”
A blistering pace was set in the early stages by Hollie Doyle on the 2-year-old filly The Platinum Queen (IRE), but Highfield Princess, under Jason Hart, showed an electric turn of foot to quicken past the leader and win by 2 ½ lengths. Emaraaty Ana (GB), second in this contest last year and fifth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Del Mar, put in another big performance to finish 1 ½ lengths behind in third and complete a Yorkshire-trained 1-2-3 in the sprint highlight.
Highfield Princess, a 5-year-old daughter of Night of Thunder (IRE) out of the Danehill mare Pure Illusion (IRE), completed the 5 furlongs in 57.18 on a course listed as good-to-firm. She became the seventh filly or mare to win the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes in the last 11 runnings.
It was her second Group 1 success in just two weeks having won the Arc Prix Maurice de Gheest (G1) at Deauville on Aug. 7 and reflecting on victory at York, Quinn said: “She’s a wonderful mare. She didn’t run as a 2-year-old and has taken a while to learn her trade.
“This year she won the all-weather final at Newcastle, and then romped home in the Duke of York (G2) before running well in the Platinum Jubilee (G1) and winning the Group 1 at Deauville.”
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Highfield Princess to start in the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland, which will be run at 5 ½ furlongs. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 24 to receive the rewards.