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Plans materialize for Highfield Princess and Earlofthecotswolds | Race News


Highfield Princess and Earlofthecotswolds were two of the most popular winners on the All Weather Championships final day in Newcastle.

Winner of the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, John Quinn’s charge also hit the target at Listed level but has been unlucky since then, displaying fine efforts in defeat – especially when he is second to Breeders’ Cup hero Mile Space Blues in York in August.

Beaten in three preseason races this year, his supporters kept the faith, kicking him out of the 15-8 co-favorite with Internationalangel, and Highfield Princess repaid their confidence with a half-length verdict under Jason Hart.

While they drifted slightly down the track at the finish of the seven furlong contest, they were still just holding their market rivals, with the pair pulling five lengths ahead of Rising Star in third.

Sean Quinn, the trainer’s son and assistant, said: “She’s a good mare and I would say she’s just as good as she’s ever been.

“It’s great because that was the plan. We brought it back a little earlier to try and target this race, just because of the great prize money.

“Winning is fantastic and it will set us up well for a grass-court season, hopefully.

“I know dad was thinking of going back to six furlongs for the Duke of York Stakes and there’s also a Listed race for fillies out of six on Guineas day (at Newmarket) so we have a lot of options and we’ll try to find a little more black type now.

“It would be great to go back to Royal Ascot with her. There’s no seven-stage race, so it would probably be the (Platinum) Jubilee (Stakes).”

Highfield Princess is owned and bred by John Fairley, a former Channel 4 Racing co-producer, who called her win a personal highlight.

He said: “We’ve been on TV for a decade, but to be in the winner’s paddock with our own pedigree horse is really fantastic.”

Earlofthecotswolds walked every yard of the race to raise the stakes of the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships conditions – setting off jubilant scenes among the winning connections.

Coached by Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National winning handler Nigel Twiston-Davies, Earlofthecotswolds won the doubles hurdles late last year but have made a breakthrough in the all-weather rankings in 2022, winning two of their four starts before this event.

Sent in the lead from the start by Liam Keniry, Earlofthecotswolds had to dig deep down the straight as fellow 100-30 favorite Marshall Plan came on with a late challenge under Frankie Dettori.

Despite their best efforts, the runner-up simply couldn’t get past the winner, who showed courage to win by a neck, adding an 11th career hit, after striking on the flat, in the company of bumpers , as well as on fences and hedges.

Twiston-Davies was accompanied by his sons Sam and Willie, the former enjoying a day off from National Hunt action while the latter, who retired from riding in 2017, bought the horse at the three years old as part of his new career as a blood agent.

Twiston-Davies senior said: “A big part of it is Willie. When the ground got a little soft Willie said ‘let’s try it on the flat’ and then he came up with this all weather trick!

“He’s a pretty ordinary jumper of around 130 and he turned out to be a horse that made all that money on the flat – it’s unbelievable.

Picture:
Nigel Twiston Davies

“We don’t expect that, but coming to beat all the posh people is fun!

“I think we’ll look to Royal Ascot. There’s the Queen Alexandra Stakes, or even the Gold Cup – why not? We have to think about that.”

A tearful Willy Twiston-Davies added: “I’m so proud. Ged Mason owns it with my two best friends, who I met in Las Vegas five years ago to the day.

“I said last year after he got injured at Aintree that we had to go on the flat because he likes all-weather and won a bumper of jumpers.

“Honestly, I never cry – I’m the toughest man ever, but I’m crying today.

“I love this horse. I’ve done everything with him – broke him in and started him. It means a lot. We’ll go to Royal Ascot, probably for the Queen Alexandra or even the Gold Cup.”




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