where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2023-06-23 07:55:33  
Highfield Princess is back for second Royal Ascot race this week

It can be done. In 2003 the Australian star Choisir won both the then G2 King’s Stand Stakes and what was the then called the G1 Golden Jubilee Stakes. Sixteen years later, Blue Point repeated the feat.


The wonderful mare Highfield Princess was beaten into second place in the G1 King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday (20 June) but after three days rest she will try to win the second leg.


On Thursday trainer John Quinn said, “We were delighted with her run on Tuesday, she’s come out of the race well. She had some light exercise this morning and seems absolutely fine.” He added, “She’s tough and tries and is incredibly versatile.”


Highfield Princess’s many admirers will be hoping she can fend off a powerful challenge from Australia and Hong Kong, represented by Artorius and Wellington.


Artorius, trained by father and son Anthony and Sam Freedman, showed his ability when a close third in the G1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes last year, before occupying the same position in the G1 July Cup at Newmarket.


Sam Freedman said, “Artorius travelled over well, better than last year, and has thrived since. He is stronger this year and a better horse.”


In last year’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes, Artorius was held up and met trouble in the final stages.


Freedman remarked, “I am not going to say he will race up with the pace but if he can race closer it will help. We have been trying to work on that and see if he can still finish well if he’s ridden closer. He did that when winning a G1 at Randwick two starts back.”


This year James McDonald, a world class jockey who won the King’s Stand on Nature Strip last year and has plenty of experience riding in England, will be on board.


Ryan Moore rides Wellington. Trained by Richard Gibson, the six-year-old has raced exclusively at Sha Tin, where he has won four Group 1 races, the most recent last December.


Gibson said, “Gold-Fun (trained by Gibson) was beaten a neck in this race in 2016 and Wellington is a horse of similar ability. It has always been the plan to bring him here. Ryan won the G1 Hong Kong Sprint on him last December.”


The trainer added, “The horse’s times are great and he is the right age. When a horse wins HK$60 million you’ve got to respect him.”


Prominent among those aiming to upset the big three is Sacred, wearing the familiar colours of the Cheveley Park Stud. The five-year-old mare was a close fifth in this race last year and warmed up by winning a Group 3 event over 1401m on an all-weather track.


Chris Richardson, managing director of the Stud, said, “She’s probably a seven furlong filly but she ran her best race in this one last year. She was beaten only a length and likes Ascot.”

Richardson added, “Sacred loves fast ground.” He will be hoping that the rain stays away.


If none of the above win, others, including the charismatic Frankie Dettori on Kinross, will be hoping their name is triumphant.


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