Ebor Festival 2023 | Highfield Princess eyes Nunthorpe revenge

Highfield Princess, Ebor, Horse Racing

Highfield Princess. Without a shadow of a doubt the story of the 2022 flat season.

However, before a return to winning ways in the Qatar Stakes at Goodwood earlier this month, the tale of the turf for this term had not been as glowing.

That is not to say the performances haven’t been there, in a season, with more unpredictable ground than that of the average Christopher Nolan screenplay.

Returning to the Knavesmire this week to defend her Coolmore Wooton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes crown, the French mare can become only the third horse to retain since the turn of the millennium.

Not only that, but as a runner-up to 33/1 shot Bradsell in the Kings Stand, this week, the Princess has the chance for revenge.


A Royal turn-up

During a Royal Ascot that threw up many a huge-price winner in June, Bradsell’s stunning win at the Royal Meeting was only second in sensation to Khaadem’s 80/1 Jubilee Stakes heroics.

All three are present here; Highfield Princess was bridesmaid in both.

A third Ebor Festival for the popular 6yo, the Nunthorpe represents the chance for a measure of retribution.

Bradsell will be significantly shorter here and the early antepost has a literal two-horse race on the cards.

Or at least, it did.


Evs better than Evens

A late entry after being supplemented, Big Evs could throw a major spanner in the works.

The plucky 2yo colt of Mick Appleby has burst onto the scene in the past few months.

After winning a Listed contest, he then won a first Group race last time out, claiming the Molecomb at Glorious Goodwood earlier this month.

However, this is the big step-up.

His Windsor Castle Stakes 20/1 glory at Royal Ascot was an emotional occasion for connections.

A horse named in memory of close friend Paul Evans who passed away last year, ‘Big Evs’ was a regular with Appleby and co. at racecourses around the country.

Over a 5f dash and in stronger company, Big Evs’ 6/1 price looks interesting, but can he challenge?


Khaadem lurks; vintage Fine Wine?

As documented, Khaadem adds a little bit of spice to proceedings in the Nunthorpe.

Interestingly, Charlie Hills’ relative 7yo veteran was fourth to Highfield Princess in this very contest 12 months back.

Of further intrigue, Jamie Spencer jumps back in the saddle; the jockey is one of only seven to have notched a win with Khaadem since last year’s Ebor Festival – the Jubilee Stakes.

Before the trip to the Knavesmire last year, Khaadem won the King George Qatar Stakes and the Palace House at Newmarket.

Both were on either good or good to soft ground. All points are worth consideration.

At the very bottom of the betting, Scott Dixon’s Fine Wine has been dismissed out of hand having gone over a year without a win on turf.

His last win however, was at York over both course and distance. Is 33/1 worth an e/w punt?

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