Unfortunately leaves it late for victory

UNFORTUNATELY continued the fine of success for Karl Burke in Ireland this season as the sprinter finished fast and late to pick up Group Three honours in the Renaissance Stakes at Naas.

Weekend racing: Muntadab ridden by Cameron Noble wins The Newmarket Journal Handicap during day three of the Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket Racecourse.
Weekend racing: Muntadab ridden by Cameron Noble wins The Newmarket Journal Handicap during day three of the Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket Racecourse.

North Yorkshire-based Burke recorded a Group One double on Irish Champions Weekend last month courtesy of Laurens and Havana Grey, and was back across the Irish Sea for a race he won 12 months ago with Quiet Reflection.

His representative this year was slowly away and still last of the six runners with a furlong to run, but Chris Hayes conjured a real tune out of the Cheveley Park Stud-owned three-year-old, who flashed home to cut down the Aidan O’Brien-trained St Patrick’s Day.

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The Leyburn trainer said: “That’s a relief. When a team like Cheveley Park comes in you want to do well for them and things just haven’t dropped for this horse.

“We probably jarred him up at Ascot (Commonwealth Cup) running him on the very fast ground, and the summer just hasn’t gone our way.

“Chris said he pinged the gates, but he’s just gone to drop himself out and Chris thought he was in trouble for most of the way.

“He thought he’d bring him wide and have one long run at it. It’s worked perfectly and he’s given him a very good ride.

“It’s his first ride for me, but he’s a lad that I’ve followed for a long time and he’s a good, strong, aggressive rider from what I can see.

“You want the guys who listen to you and try to follow your plan as best they can. Chris has done that and I’m very happy.”

He added on future plans: “The only race now for him is the Ascot sprint (British Champions Sprint) and if that came up with a bit cut in the ground we have nothing to lose by having a go at that.

“I’d say he’ll go to stud at the end of the season. He was a very good two-year-old last year and he’s shown he’s still got some ability now. I’m sure he’ll do very well at stud and he’ll be a very popular commercial little horse.”

This win could be the prelude to another milestone week for Burke whose multiple Group One winner Laurens will look for further success at the elite level when lining up in Newmarket’s Sun Chariot Stakes this Saturday.

Meanwhile, Malton trainer Brian Ellison says the Breeders’ Cup in America could be the target for The Mackem Bullet after her narrow defeat to the aforementioned O’Brien’s Fairyland in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

It confirmed the form of York’s Lowther Stakes when O’Brien’s charge also denied The Mackem Bullet. However this was Ellison’s best result in an elite race since Top Notch Tonto was second in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in 2013.

Edredon Bleu, winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase and King George VI Chase, has died at the age of 26.

Trained by Henrietta Knight and owned by Jim Lewis, the French-bred gelding came out on top in an unforgettable renewal of the two-mile championship at Cheltenham in 2000, when he defeated Direct Route by a short head.

Edredon Bleu showed his versatility when lifting Kempton’s Boxing Day showpiece over three miles in 2003. He was retired in 2005. “He was the most spectacular jumper you’d ever see at Cheltenham. He holds the record for the fastest two-mile chase there and he goes to his maker with glory,” said owner Jim Lewis.