Win And You’re In: Highfield Princess Bids To Defend Her Title In Friday’s Nunthorpe

Defending Highfield Princess (IRE), one of the world’s top turf sprinters, heads the field for Friday’s Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes (G1) at York. The winner of the five-furlong showpiece is guaranteed an automatic starting position in the $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 80 Graded/Group stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled to be held Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

The John Quinn-trained Highfield Princess, who finished fourth in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), returns to group 1 action after winning the King George Qatar Stakes (G2) in her latest start at Goodwood. The 6-year-old daughter of Night of Thunder (IRE) won three group 1 races last year and returned to top form at Goodwood after three placed efforts to start 2023.

Quinn has no doubt about Highfield Princess’ quality. He said: “She has gone from being a top-class handicapper to probably the best sprinting filly in Europe, if not the world.”

Her regular jockey Jason Hart reaffirmed these claims, adding: “She’s probably the best horse I’ll ever ride, and she’s back to form.”

At Royal Ascot, Highfield Princess, owned by Trainers House Enterprises Ltd, was narrowly beaten in both the King’s Stand Stakes (G1) by Bradsell (GB) and in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (G1) by Khaadem (IRE). Both of her victors have been declared for Friday’s red-hot contest. Bradsell will once again be ridden by Hollie Doyle for trainer Archie Watson and the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem will be partnered by Jamie Spencer.

Andrea Atzeni takes the mount on the Mick Appleby-trained Big Evs (IRE), supplemented for the race for a fee of £40,000. The 2-year-old son of Blue Point (IRE) has enjoyed a fantastic start to his career including wins at both Royal Ascot in the Windsor Castle Stakes and at Goodwood in the Jaeger-Lecoultre Molecomb Stakes (G3).

The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint is restricted to runners 3-years-old and older. Should Big Evs win Friday’s race, his connections would be permitted to transfer the waived entry fees for him to start in a Breeders’ Cup World Championships Juvenile race based on eligibility.

Karl Burke’s 3-year-old filly Dramatised (IRE), who finished second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland, has only been seen twice this season. Her Royal Ascot run in the King’s Stand was disappointing but a strong effort for owners Clipper Logistics at Haydock prior that resulted in a win in the Betfred Temple Stakes (G2).

Trainer Edward Bethell chose to skip Goodwood in favor of this race for the Future Champions Racing Regional-owned Regional (GB), who boasts course and distance form. The 5-year-old son of Territories (IRE) is unbeaten in two starts this year.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Aesop’s Fables (IRE) is stepping down in trip and looking to improve on third place at Newbury in May. Ryan Moore takes the ride.

Equality (GB), trained by Charlie Hills, was well-beaten by Highfield Princess at Goodwood, but won his two previous starts over 5 furlongs.

Adam West’s Live In The Dream (IRE) started this season with victories in back-to-back handicaps and ran creditably in a Listed contest at Deauville.

Completing the 16-runner field are Twilight Calls (GB), under Frankie Dettori, Tees Spirit (GB), Makarova (GB), Nymphadora (GB), Get Ahead (GB), Ladies Church (GB) and Queen Me (IRE).

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Nunthorpe Stakes winner to start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita, which will be run over 5 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. 23 to receive the rewards.

The post Win And You’re In: Highfield Princess Bids To Defend Her Title In Friday’s Nunthorpe appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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