Costello is happy to reflect '¨on the '˜real deal'
Yet this three-year-old filly delivered by the bucketload when she sluiced through the Haydock mud to land the 32Red Sprint Cup.
The star sprinter’s second Group One triumph of the year, all the pre-race nerves about Quiet Reflection’s fitness, the form of Karl Burke’s stable and heavier than forecast ground were dispelled by this exhilarating win.
Form and fitness provided, the horse remains on course for the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot on October 15.
However, this horse’s champion credentials are already proven. The pleasure she gives to her owners, members of the aptly-named Ontoawinner syndicate, is priceless. The horse’s future stud value also rises with each appearance.
Victorious from seven out of nine career starts, the filly – hailed as “the real deal” by jockey Dougie Costello – has now amassed more than £620,000 in prize money.
Costello, a former jump jockey, kept his own counsel in the nervous minutes before the race, staying away from the hubbub of the main weighing room, as he contemplated tactics and the need not to leave Quiet Reflection with too much ground to make up after she failed to reel in Limato and Suedois in Newmarket’s July Cup.
Yet, with Limato one of three late absentees due to the quagmire-like going, Costello – using all his experience from the winter game – kept the pacesetters in touch and was travelling best of all when he asked his horse to quicken out of the mud.
In an instant, the race was settled before The Tin Man, the runner-up, could mount a late challenge which limited the winning margin to just under two lengths, with the aforementioned Suedois a brave third for North Yorkshire trainer David O’Meara and jockey Danny Tudhope.
There are Flat jockeys who have strived for decades to win Group One races. Now Costello has two on his burgeoning CV less than a year after switching codes. He said: “I’ve never ridden anything like it and probably never will again. She’s push-button go. She won as she liked, she’s the real deal.
“She was fresh today and between the five and the three I was running away. I got there a little bit sooner than I’d liked. She’s such a simple filly to ride. It was almost like a good piece of work. She’s a filly you only come across once.”
For Leyburn-based Burke, he told The Yorkshire Post that this win was more satisfying because it showed that the Royal Ascot triumph was not a one-off.
It had also not been straightforward, Quiet Reflection picking up a niggling injury as she returned to training following a lay-off after the July Cup.
Yet, while the yard’s strike-rate slowed, they returned to form last week and Intense Tango’s win in the preceding 32Red Casino Handicap – she made all under 20-year-old apprentice Clifford Lee – helped settle lingering doubts.
Burke was also keen to deflect attention and praise the whole team at his Spigot Lodge stables. “That was a great performance. I knew she’d improved and strengthened. She’s such a straightforward filly,” he said.
“Jordan (Vaughan) does a brilliant job riding her at home, and leading her up at the races, but I told him he had to go to Kempton to ride Georgian Bay and he’s just got done a head in a 60-grand handicap.
“The whole team have done a great job and there’s the farrier Andy Grant. He’s done a fantastic job all year with her feet. They haven’t been the best.
“I know we wanted a bit of rain, but I was a bit worried when it got this soft as I thought it might play into the hands of the older horses. She’s just got speed to burn. She travels well and is so relaxed. She blows when she works but when she runs she doesn’t turn a hair.”
Burke is also keen to savour the moment – he knows Quiet Reflection’s future career will be at stud. “She’ll go to Ascot next for the Champions Sprint and I’m praying she stays well and sound,” he added. “She’ll have an entry in this year’s mares’ sale at Tattersalls in December, just in case something untoward happens, but the plan is to stay in training next year.”