KARL BURKE says there’s no reason why his Royal Ascot heroine Quiet Reflection cannot reverse the July Cup form with Limato in today’s 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Many believe the North Yorkshire trainer’s stable star put up a career-best performance when finishing third to Henry Candy’s Limato at Newmarket.
And with there likely to be more give in the ground for today’s contest on Merseyside, Leyburn-based Burke dares to dream of his stable star winning a second Group One race this year following her scintillating success in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot under former National Hunt jockey Dougie Costello.
For, while Quiet Reflection – who runs in the distinctive yellow and white check colours of the Ontoawinner syndicate – has not raced since Newmarket because the ground is too quick, Limato raced just over two weeks ago when a gutsy second to the brilliant Mecca’s Angel in York’s Nunthorpe Stakes. However, he prefers quick going.
“She’s in great form. She looks great and she did her final canter this morning,” Burke told The Yorkshire Post last night.
“It’s all systems go and we are in the lap of the weather gods. I was there (Haydock) on Thursday and some jockeys said the ground was on the easy side of good.
“If it gets a little bit slower with any rain, it won’t inconvenience here.
“I think the July Cup was a terrific race on drying ground which wasn’t to her advantage. I was keen to give her a couple of easy weeks, which she’s had, and she put on 15 kilos in those two weeks she was off.
“We’ve had plenty to work to get it back down and she’s bang on her racing weight again now.”
Burke is the first to admit that he’s “very lucky” to have a horse of this calibre in his yard and he’s determined to enjoy these big occasions – and the adrenaline rush when Quiet Reflection quickens in the latter stages of her races.
After all, it was the manner of her win in Haydock’s Sandy Lane Stakes at the end of May, and her electrifying turn of pace, that left Burke and Costello convinced that this three-year-old filly would be good enough to win the Commonwealth Cup.
Their faith, and confidence, was more vindicated while both have been quick to praise the important role of young apprentice rider Jordan Vaughan, who rides the horse at home.
“Good horses like this are very hard to get. When you get one, you’ve got to enjoy them,” added Burke. “Hopefully, she will stay in training next season and we will have a better idea of the opportunities open to her. This year, we were hoping she would be good enough. Now we know she is, we will be able to map out a programme.”
Quiet Reflection is not the only Yorkshire contender in this prestigious race which dates back to 1966 – the late Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s Be Friendly won the first two renewals, while the last white rose success came in 2014 when G Force prevailed for trainer David O’Meara and jockey Danny Tudhope.
They are represented by the admirably consistent Suedois, who just beat Quiet Reflection to finish second to Limato in the aforementioned July Cup before finishing fourth in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on his last outing.
“We’re very happy with him and he’s in good form. I just hope they get a shower or two,” said Tudhope.
“He’s done nothing wrong this season and I don’t think he’s got the credit he deserved. I’ve won the Sprint Cup before and it would be nice to win it again.”
Suedois will come up against a familiar foe in the Richard Fahey-trained Donjuan Triumphant, who was runner-up in the Deauville race for the in-form Malton handler and owners Middleham Park Racing.
Though Donjuan Triumphant could not live with Quiet Reflection in both the Sandy Lane race and Commonwealth Cup, connections are confident.
“His run in the Maurice de Gheest was good. That race was like the July Cup,” said Middleham Park’s racing manager Tim Palin. “Suedois was in the mix in the French race and was in the mix in the July Cup as well. It’s a very competitive sprint, but our form is right up there with the best of them.”
Fahey also saddles Mr Lupton, while Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan is responsible for the outsider Gokan in, potentially, one of the races of the season.