Highfield Princess provided jockey Jason Hart with the biggest victory of his career to date as she landed the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on Sunday.
The star of trainer John Quinn’s yard, Highfield Princess was sent off a 10/1 chance, needing to overturn the form with favourite Naval Crown having finished sixth behind Charlie Appleby’s Royal Ascot winner in the Platinum Jubilee in June.
Hart kept his mount prominent throughout and led the classy 14-runner contest with two furlongs to go, as James Doyle on Naval Crown tried to make inroads on the far side.
Appleby’s contender will have appeared in Hart’s view as the pair stretched the field following a slow early pace, with Richard Fahey’s Perfect Power among those feeling the pinch.
But, Hart kicked on and Doyle faded, leaving fellow British raiders Minzaal (8/1), Garrus (25/1) and Rohaan (12/1) to take up the chase in vain, while Australia’s Artorius could only manage sixth behind Naval Crown.
Hart told Sky Sports Racing: “She’s really special. These are the races that everyone really wants to win and be riding in so it’s nice to come here and get a Group One which is what we all dream of doing.
“The boss and Sean [Quinn’s son] had this race mapped out for her after Ascot and when they target one they rarely disappoint.
“We didn’t go very quick which I think helped because we were in the right place to attack when we wanted to. She was a game winner in the end and was well on top at the finish.”
Kieran Shoemark’s Prix Maurice de Gheest did not go to plan as he could only steer Clive Cox’s 8/1 shot Harry Three to a 10th-placed finish, but the British rider made his trip to France worthwhile by winning the €100,000 Grand Handicap De Deauville on Hans-Albert Blume’s 25/1 shot Celestin.
Andre Fabre’s Botanik got a well-deserved first Group success, winning the Group Three Prix De Reux after a brave front-running ride from Mikael Barzalona.