Quiet Reflection shouts out Qipco credentials
Quiet Reflection, Karl Burke's three-year-old filly, did her chances of becoming the season's Champion sprinter no harm when she ran out an impressive length and three-quarters winner of the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock yesterday.
While Profitable, Twilight Son, Mecca's Angel and Limato, a late non-runner after rain turned the ground soft during the morning, have all won a Group One apiece this season, the Middleham-trained filly is the first to bag two after she added the 50th running of this race to the Commonwealth Cup, the sprint confined to three-year-olds, at Royal Ascot. She was also, for good measure, a good third in the July Cup.
Relishing the ground yesterday and coming back after a short break, she travelled like the winner all the way and, while the slightly unlucky runner-up The Tin Man has to come from behind, his blowing of the start was more by accident than design. It certainly cost him any winning chance because by the time he got going Quiet Reflection, the 7/2 favourite in Limato's absence, was already gone.
Dougie Costello, the former jump jockey who has struck up such a partnership with Quiet Reflection in his first season as stable jockey to Burke, was always cruising just behind the eventual third, Suedois, while everyone else, including Franny Norton on Dancing Star, was hard at work.
Just over a furlong out he could disappoint her no longer and, despite being there a shade too soon for his liking, he let her go.
Suedois may not have won a race this season yet but he gets full marks for consistency, finishing third just ahead of Ed Vaughan's filly Mehronissa which was supplemented for the race on Monday.
With Jim Crowley leading the Stobart Jockeys Championship and Graham Lee also doing well, former jump jockeys are enjoying terrific run of success on the Flat. "I've never ridden anything like it," said Costello who until a year ago was more familiar with the pace of three-mile chasers. "And probably never will again. She's press button go.
"She was a bit fresh today and between the five and the three I was running away. I didn't really want to hit the front that soon. I kept hoping Danny [Tudhope] would lead me further and was then half thinking whether Franny might be able to take me a bit further but in the end she's won as she liked. It's like everything else has two gears less than she does."
Burke, who was completing a big race double at Haydock having won the 32Red Casino Handicap with Intense Tango, said: "I'm delighted. She's very, very good. We've always thought it and today she's proved it. How many three-year-old fillies can you think of which have won two Group One sprints? She can only improve next year."
He added: "The plan was always to come here then go back to Ascot for the Qipco Champion Sprint. Professionally I think this tops her Commonwealth Cup win. That was brilliant and great publicity but if she'd never won another Group One everyone would have said it was an easy race. But she cemented her reputation today. I'd have loved it to have been on a good ground and for Limato have run. We look forward to meeting him again one day though.
Candy said: "In the end it [taking Limato out] was an easy decision to make. There was more rain than was forecast. He could go to the Prix de la Foret at Chantilly but we are fairly laid back about whether he does anything or not this year, he will stay in training for years."
Yesterday's sponsors, 32Red, one of racing's founding Authorised Betting Partners, have stepped in to take up more of the slack left by non-ABP bookmakers by announcing they will sponsor Kempton's Boxing Day feature, the King George VI Chase. The deal, which includes the other big races at Kempton's Christmas festival, is for three years.
At Ascot the Queen's Frontispiece, trained by Michael Stoute, stayed on strongly on his racecourse debut to get up in the last stride to win the seven furlong maiden by a nose. Though his Derby entry for next year is speculative it would be a surprise, given the colt's breeding and the way his trainer likes to bring on nice horses in their own time, if there was not a good deal more to come in due course.