Talking Horses: Highfield Princess can nab Royal Ascot’s Platinum prize


Royal Ascot’s first £1m race on Wednesday attracted just five runners but the second – Saturday’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes – has drawn a record field of 27, headed by the top-notch Australian sprinter, Home Affairs.

Home Affairs is a stable companion of Nature Strip, Tuesday’s impressive King’s Stand Stakes winner, and beat him by a short-head over five furlongs at Flemington in February.

He has Group One-winning form at six furlongs too but is nowhere near as far clear of several in this field on ratings as the betting might suggest. The market’s focus on Chris Waller’s three-year-old makes the market for an each-way alternative, and Highfield Princess (4.20) stands out as a live contender at around 14-1.

John Quinn’s mare won the seven-furlong handicap at this meeting 12 months ago but remains unexposed at six, having run at today’s trip just twice in a 23-race career.

She was second home in her group in last season’s Champions Sprint and put up a big new career-best to win the 1895 Duke Of York Stakes in May. This is another step up in class, but not an insurmountable one with just a little more improvement.

Royal Ascot 2.30: Aidan O’Brien has taken this in four of the last six seasons and Alfred Munnings looks as good a prospect as any of those winners.

3.05: Star Girls Aalmal travelled well in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on the way to fourth behind the impressive Homeless Songs and this drop back to seven furlongs should suit.

3.40: Hurricane Lane has a long absence to overcome but he won first time up last at two and three and suffered his only defeats last season in the Derby and Arc.

5.00: Blackrod put up a career-best on his return to action at Newmarket in April and has a fine chance to give sprint-specialist Michael Dods his first Wokingham winner.

5.35: This is a quick turnaround for Honiton after a nine-length maiden win last weekend but he is worth chancing at around 7-1, as earlier form suggests an opening mark of 94 underestimates him.

6.10: Dermot Weld’s Falcon Eight was a disappointing favourite for this last year but the soft ground was an obvious excuse and he is worth a second chance at around 6-1 assuming the ground remains fast.