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Sunday, 21 October, 2018

It’s a Burke bonanza as Havana Grey hits top gear in Flying Five

Thumbs up! Karl Burke has enjoyed a terrific season, thanks in no small part to recent Matron Stakes winner Laurens
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Whether the race is deserving of its upgrade to Group 1 status is a conversation for another day but Karl Burke won’t complain as Havana Grey notched his first top-flight success in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday, topping off a magical weekend in Ireland for the Yorkshire-based trainer.

Following on from the brilliant victory of stable star Laurens in Saturday’s Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, Burke was left pinching himself after completing the Group 1 double.

“It's what dreams are made of,” he said. “If somebody had said to me that I'd have two Group 1 winners in a weekend I'd have thought they were dreaming.

“As far as this horse is concerned, I think he deserves it as he's been so consistent and he's turned up to every gig.

“He's only a three-year-old and is still a baby. There's plenty of interest in him to go to stud but we'll have to sit down with his owners and see what we're going to do now.”


Flying Five Stakes result and race replay


Asked if it bothered him that some people knocked Havana Grey at the beginning of the season, with claims the Havana Gold colt hadn’t trained on, Burke responded: “It did, yes. There were a couple of very shrewd judges, who I respect, that were after him last year for stud and they were telling me he was only a little two-year-old because he was quite small.

“He’s got a fantastic, athletic walk for a sprinter and I was always confident he'd train on. It was always going to be tough because I always had it in my mind that he was a five-furlong horse and there aren't the races for those horses at the beginning of the season.”

Havana Grey and Richard Kingscote are not for catching in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh

Stepping in for the injured PJ McDonald this time – Danny Tudhope was the lucky man on Laurens on Saturday – was Richard Kingscote, who kept it simple on the 15-8 favourite, making virtually all to beat Son Of Rest by half a length.

Burke added: “The race itself was straightforward. Richard said he pinged the gates and he let him bowl along. 

“He’s entered in the Prix de l’Abbaye, but this race was a win and you’re in for the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint and I’d say he could go there.” 


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He deserves it as he's been so consistent and he's turned up to every gig
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