Highgarden digs deep for Nayef Stakes victory

John Gosden’s Highgarden had just a head to spare in a driving finish to the Princess Royal Nayef Stakes at Newmarket

  • Friday 28 September
  • News
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Highgarden secured a hard-fought victory in the Princess Royal Nayef Stakes at Newmarket.

The daughter of Nathaniel looked a potential Classic contender after winning her only juvenile start at Newbury, but those dreams were dashed when she suffered an odds-on reverse on her reappearance at Sandown and then finished fourth in the Musidora at York.

John Gosden’s filly had since run in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot and successive Listed events on the July Course, and she was a 12-1 shot stepped up to Group Three level in the hands of Frankie Dettori, who celebrated afterwards with a flying dismount on what was the 22nd anniversary of his ‘Magnificent Seven’ at Ascot.

Highgarden was asked to throw down her challenge racing inside the final two furlongs – and while she responded admirably, she looked booked for minor honours when Mrs Sippy loomed up ominously.

However, she did not pick up sufficiently late on, and Highgarden knuckled down to see her off by a head.

Crimson Rosette was a neck further away in third.

Gosden said: “It’s great for the owner-breeders to win a Group Three at Newmarket. She has grown a lot this year, this filly.

“We were wrong to run her the last time. She has grown a lot and has had a nice little freshen-up into the autumn.

“Things just haven’t come together, and she is just coming back now, but it happens. Nathaniel is a good sire of the middle-distance fillies, and they will get better with age like he did. He won an Eclipse at four.

“She may well stay in training – and there are lovely races for these middle-distance fillies now, which is fantastic.

“We will have a look. There is the Belle de Nuit and a couple of other races, but she has got a Group Three penalty now.

“Maybe we’ll freshen her up for the spring, because we have those lovely races at Haydock. The Yorkshire Oaks might be a bit tough, but there is the Lancashire Oaks, the Park Hill and the Lillie Langtry. I think she will get a mile and six (furlongs).”

David Simcock was pleased with the performance of the narrowly beaten Mrs Sippy.

He said: “She still ran very well. She probably did enough on the way to the start today.

“She went through the race well. He (Jamie Spencer) produced her at the right time, and she just emptied in the last half-furlong.

“We are little disappointed not to win the race, but she is a filly going forward and she will stay in training next year.

“That is it for this season.”

The third-placed Crimson Rosette finished well in front of Highgarden when winning the Chalice Stakes at Newmarket last month.

Her trainer Charlie Fellowes said: “It’s gutting for two reasons. The last time we ran against the winner we were in a different league, but we subsequently went to France and the winner has freshened up. In France, the ground was too soft for her as she likes it rattling quick.

“I’d say that would be her done in England. There is a Grade Three in America in the middle of October, but it’s a long way to go for that. It will be up to Mr Oppenheimer (owner-breeder).”

Beshaayir gained her most valuable victory to date as she charged home in the Muhaarar British EBF Rosemary Stakes.

After coming up short on her two previous attempts in Listed company, the daughter of Iffraaj came good at the third time of asking when landing win number three of the campaign.

The 8-1 shot picked up well late on under Oisin Murphy to move past early leader Laugh Aloud inside the final furlong before defeating Queen Of Time by two lengths to give trainer William Haggas back-to-back wins in the race.

Maureen Haggas, wife and assistant trainer, said: “Last time at Ascot she hit her head in the stalls and she was probably seeing stars all the way up the track.

“She is fine at home. The girl that rides her all year has done a really good job. She has been a bit silly the last few times at the races, stamping about, but I think that is just the way she is.

“The fast pace suited her. She settled well and she finished well. We are really pleased to win a Listed race with her, because it has just not gone her way before.”

Skardu (3-1) completed a double for Newmarket handler Haggas after sticking to the task well on his debut to take the Derrinstown British EBF Maiden Stakes by two lengths.

Maureen Haggas added: “He had not been wound up he just come up here to have a run. He looked a bit timid early on, but he started to get the hang of it and finished well.

“He has changed a lot in the last two months. He was quite an ugly duckling and has turned into a really nice horse.”

Horses from the yard of Mark Johnston are renowned for being tough – but few can be as resilient as Communique after he gained his fifth win of the campaign when grinding out victory in the Mukhadram Godolphin Stakes.

Although pressed late on in the mile-and-a-half prize by eventual runner-up Barsanti, the son of Casamento held on gamely by a neck to gain the first Listed victory of his career and complete a double for winning rider Ryan Moore.

Johnston said of the 11-8 winner: “We’ve got a good few like him. It’s the racing that makes them tough. We tried a mile and a half with him in June, but it just didn’t go his way. We have thought he wants that trip for a long time.

“Ryan Moore had never ridden him before. He surprised him a bit that he found such a turn of foot. He was not expecting that, as he was so laid-back. If riding him again, he said he would wait a bit longer.

“We are going to end up there (Group races), but it is whether he takes in the Rowley Cup, the race Charlie (Johnston, assistant trainer) wanted to go for, along the way.”

The Mick Channon-trained Jazeel (14-1) made the most of a return to a quick ground when swooping late under David Egan to land the Shadwell Farm Handicap (Silver Cambridgeshire) by a neck.

Highgarden digs deep for Nayef Stakes victory
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