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Further big-race targets on the horizon for Highland Princess

John Quinn is to consider two contrasting targets for Highland Princess after the filly continued her progression with victory in a Listed contest at Chelmsford.

The four-year-old is likely to go for one of her two early-closing entries over seven furlongs, either the hurly burly of the Moet & Chandon International Heritage Handicap at Ascot on July 24 or the Group Two Sky Bet City of York Stakes at York on August 21.

Highland Princess burst on to the scene when taking the Buckingham Palace Handicap at Royal Ascot – and followed up with a game all-the-way win in the Queen Charlotte Fillies’ Stakes on Sunday.

“She’s a very tough genuine filly. I’m delighted with her,” said Quinn.

“She’s in the big handicap at Ascot and she’s also in a Group Two at York. We’ll see. I haven’t really thought about it yet.”

Quinn revealed his two smart sprinters, Keep Busy and Liberty Beach, could go for the Group Two Paddy Power Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on July 17.

Keep Buy has run twice since they finished fifth and sixth respectively behind Oxted in the King’s Stand Stakes at the Royal meeting.

After landing a Listed prize at Ayr seven days later, Keep Busy reappeared in the Coral Charge at Sandown on Saturday, but was slowly away and suffered trouble in running. She eventually finished seventh behind Came From The Dark.

“Something kicked off in the gates near her and she missed the break. Then she got stuck down the inside,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“It just didn’t happen, but she’s fine and she’ll go for the Sapphire at the Curragh.

“Liberty Beach is very well. The two of them might run in the same race.”

Beach and Busy to represent Quinn in King’s Stand contest

John Quinn is set to be two-handed in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes with Liberty Beach and Keep Busy lining up at Royal Ascot.

Both horses ran with great credit at the meeting in last summer with Liberty Beach finishing third behind Battaash in the Group One, while Keep Busy was runner-up to Art Power in the five-furlong handicap for three-year-olds.

The pair clashed on their seasonal reappearance in the Temple Stakes at Haydock last month, with Liberty Beach taking the Group Two prize and Keep Busy finishing fifth.

Quinn was pleased with the pair and is looking forward to seeing them bid for Group One honours.

“They are working well. I’m very happy with them. They’ve come out of Haydock well.” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“You could see with Keep Busy the run wasn’t lost on her. That was her usual. It’s her style.

“Liberty Beach has come on as well. Both will turn up.”

Quinn has a choice of races for his unbeaten two-year-old Tipperary Sunset – Wednesday’s Windsor Castle Stakes and the Norfolk Stakes on Thursday.

The son of Ardad looked smart when adding the Continental Two-Year-Old Trophy at Beverley to his debut success at Hamilton.

“We’ve put him in the Windsor Castle and we’re going to put him in the Norfolk,” he said.

“He’s come out of Beverley really well and I intend to run him in one or the other.”

Quinn has Frankenstella in the Ascot Stakes, but the four-year-old filly is not certain to make the cut and ground conditions might not be in her favour.

“She might not get in and she might need rain to run. We’ll keep a good eye on everything,” he said.

Liberty Beach blazes a trail to take Temple triumph

Liberty Beach made all the running on her return to action to gamely win the Casumo Best Odds Guaranteed Temple Stakes at Haydock.

John Quinn’s filly had some top-class form to her name last season, including on her most recent outing when third in the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp in October.

All of her rivals bar stable companion Keep Busy had the advantage of a run on their side, but Jason Hart’s mount showed her usual early speed on leaving the stalls.

She soon seized an advantage and was doing things easily on the front end while the rest of the field were struggling to keep tabs on her at halfway.

With a furlong to run, it looked as if Liberty Beach (13-8 favourite) was going to register a ready win, but the lack of a recent outing allied to testing ground began to take its toll and her stride started to shorten.

Karl Burke’s Ainsdale, who had been one of the first off the bridle but is a soft-ground specialist, and his stable companion Lady In France began to close all the time, but the line came just too late for both, with Liberty Beach holding off Ainsdale by a neck.

The winner was trimmed to 8-1 from 10s for the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in which she was third to Battaash last year.

“A very good day – she’s very quick,” said Quinn.

“This filly has won three times first time out – the other filly (Keep Busy) has never won first time out.

“The two of them are in the King’s Stand, and they’ll go there.

“She ran a good race in it last year, only nine days after winning the Cecil Frail here.

“She (also) ran a very good race in the Queen Mary as a two-year-old.

“I’m delighted. She had to be tough – 50 yards from the line, I thought ‘Oh socks!’. But she dug deep – and as Jason (Hart) said, nothing passed her after the line.”

With the standout five-furlong performer Battaash having met with a minor setback which delayed his return to training this season, Quinn hopes race fitness could play a part at Ascot.

“As you know well, it’s nice to get them out and get a run into them. Anyone can only do so much at home, so to have a run into both of these is vital really,” he said.

“She has a lot of class, and a lot of speed. She could have been unbeaten as a two-year-old.

“She might have gone close in the Queen Mary (with a better draw) – she was second in the Lowther when the winner made the running and kicked.

“We didn’t know whether she’d get six.

“Then last year she had a very good year. Her last run in the Abbaye was very good.

“She’s won on good to firm, good, soft, heavy – both these fillies are very versatile.

“The two of them are very good. One has sparked on the day, and the other things just didn’t go for her. That’s horseracing – there’ll be another day for her.”

Quinn fillies set for rematch in Temple Stakes

John Quinn finds it hard to split his speedy fillies Keep Busy and Liberty Beach, who will do battle in the Casumo Best Odds Guaranteed Temple Stakes at Haydock.

The stablemates have the same rating of 109, and the score is one each on their two meetings in Group Ones last year.

Keep Busy was two and a half lengths in front of Liberty Beach when they were second and seventh to Glass Slippers in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh in September.

The tables were turned the following month, with Liberty Beach third behind Wooded in the Prix de l’Abbaye and Keep Busy a length and a half away in fifth.

Liberty Beach (red) is one of two runners for John Quinn in the Temple Stakes at Haydock
Liberty Beach (red) is one of two runners for John Quinn in the Temple Stakes at Haydock (Dan Abraham/PA)

Quinn is anticipating a tight rematch in Saturday’s Group Two.

“I’m happy with them,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“They are fit and they are well. Their prep has gone well, and we’re hoping for a bit of luck.

“Keep Busy has won on very soft ground, and Liberty Beach has won on soft ground as well. They both go on it.

“I hope they’ve got good chances. A dead-heat will do me.”

The in-form Jabbarockie will try to bridge the gap between handicaps and group company when he steps up in class at the age of eight.

Preston trainer Eric Alston accepts his horse faces a stern test, but Jabbarockie has won competitive sprint handicaps at Chester and Musselburgh on his two starts this season.

Eric Alston steps Jabberockie up in class
Eric Alston steps Jabbarockie up in class (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He’s in great form with himself, but it’s going to be a tough ask,” said Alston.

“The owners are all local, and we had the choice of going to York or Haydock, and they wanted to go and have their big day.

“He’s very genuine, and hopefully it will work out for him.”

Martyn Meade is looking forward to finally getting Method out, in the Casumo Bet100Get10 Sandy Lane Stakes.

The highly-regarded three-year-old sprinter is back to full health after missing his intended seasonal debut in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot last month.

Method makes a belated seasonal debut in the Sandy Lane Stakes
Method makes a belated seasonal debut in the Sandy Lane Stakes (Francesca Altoft/PA)

“It will obviously be his first run of the year. We were going to run him earlier, but he was just not 100 per cent – he is now, so we will see how he performs there,” he said.

“If he runs well there, then we will be targeting the Commonwealth Cup. That will be the idea for him.

“Five furlongs was too short for him when he was beaten at Newmarket on his last start. As long as he reproduces his two-year-old form, he should be OK. You need a decent race to see how good he is.”

Umm Kulthum reverts to six furlongs after weakening in the closing stages when unplaced in the Fred Darling Stakes over seven at Newbury last month.

Richard Fahey reports the daughter of Kodiac, who won the Group Three Firth Of Clyde Stakes at Ayr and was a close third in the Group One Cheveley Park, to be ready to return to the fray.

“We’re happy enough with her. It’s a tough race but we’ll know where we are,” said the Musley Bank trainer.

“You’d imagine the drop back to six will help her. It will be a good guide for her.”

Archie Watson’s Dragon Symbol steps up markedly in class after winning all his four starts to date.

“He has done everything right so far this year and he answered everything that we have asked of him since his debut on the all-weather,” said Watson.

“He is going back up to six furlongs, and we are hopeful that he will handle the softer ground up there – because the ground was quick last time out at Musselburgh.

“This is a big step up in class, and it should give us an idea of where we are with him.”

Proven group performers The Lir Jet, Mujbar, Rohaan and Isabella Giles are among those in the 10-runner line-up.

Quinn content with performances from ParisLongcamp trio

John Quinn was proud of his three runners who put up admirable performances in defeat in two of the Group One races at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.

Liberty Beach and Keep Busy finished third and fifth respectively in the Prix de l’Abbaye, while Safe Voyage was third in the Prix de la Foret.

For a moment, the North Yorkshire trainer thought Liberty Beach might lift the big sprint prize in the hands of Frankie Dettori, only to go down by half a length behind Wooded, with Keep Busy sticking on well to be beaten two lengths in all.

“They ran very well. Liberty Beach ran great. It looked like maybe she was going to do it, she just got beat, but she ran really well,” said Quinn.

“Keep Busy was flat out, but finished well. She ran a good race and wasn’t beaten far.”

Safe Voyage put in good late work behind One Master and Earthlight, beaten half a length as the winner sealed a record hat-trick of victories in the Foret.

“It looked like they were going to get away from him, but he battled back and was nearly going to get up, but the winning post came too soon,” the trainer said.

Quinn is no rush to make plans for the trio, adding: “We’ll let the dust settle before deciding what we do with them.”