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20 May 2022

Princess reigns in Duke Of York heat

Princess reigns in Duke Of York heat

Highfield Princess was a taking winner of the 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes for jockey Jason Hart and trainer John Quinn.

The mare travelled prominently despite being restrained by Hart in the early stages of the Group Two contest and then eased clear when asked to quicken.

Left alone in the lead in the final furlong, the five-year-old began to drift towards the outer rail but was still a comfortable two-and-three-quarter-length winner from Karl Burke’s 9-1 chance Spycatcher.

Owen Burrows’ Minzaal was the third-placed horse as the 11-4 joint favourite, with Dragon Symbol disappointing at the same price on his first run for Roger Varian.

Quinn, who was on his way to the Arqana sales in France, said of the 11-2 victor: “I got to see it just before I was about to get on the train.

“I’m obviously delighted, she was very impressive, just what I wanted to see.

“I think we’ll probably wait now until the six-furlong race at Ascot (Platinum Jubilee), that’s the obvious next race for her.

“What has been really pleasing to see of late is that if anything she’s getting quicker, they were never going too quick for her there.

“Now I just hope I can find the next one.”

Hart said: “I didn’t think she’d travel that well to be honest. I don’t know what the boss does but he’s made her quicker.

“I got her in a lovely rhythm and at halfway she lit up underneath me. When I pressed the button, I couldn’t believe how she picked up and put the race to bed.

“She was my first Royal Ascot winner and going back there looks the obvious place to go.”

Burke was more than satisfied with the runner-up’s effort, but felt he may have been a little unlucky.

He said: “I’m delighted – he ran a great race.

“It’s a shame we got a little bit hampered because he is quite a competitive horse when he gets upsides. The winner was the best horse on the day, but we’d have been a couple of lengths closer I think if we’d had a clear run.

“He’s suffered with his feet a little bit and should have won on Good Friday really, but to come and do it in that grade is brilliant and gives us a lot of hope for the future.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go next. He is actually in the Group Two at the Curragh on Sunday week (Greenlands Stakes), but I’d imagine that will come too quick and will be a very hot race.

“We’re not entered at Royal Ascot and I think the ground would be the key to him really with his feet – a bit of juice in the ground is perfect.”

Minzaal was the only one of the first three to be making his seasonal reappearance and Burrows said: “I’m happy enough with that as I felt this might just knock the cobwebs away.

“It was a funny old race. He jumped well, which I was pleased about as he’s been a little bit slow at times and he travelled well, but the winner didn’t stop did she?

“She drifted away from him, so he didn’t have anything then to take him into the race.

“He’s having a nice blow and I’m sure he’ll come forward plenty from that. Like everybody we’ve been waiting to get some serious work in on the grass, so hopefully the rain will allow for that and we can move forwards to Ascot.”

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