Time for Reflection on a fast filly who never stopped improving
With one day to go until Royal Ascot gets under way, we recount the story of one of the hottest favourites at last year's meeting . . .
There are nearly 400 miles between Hamilton and Ascot, and the gulf in class is nearly as wide, yet it was a journey Quiet Reflection always looked set to make.
Certainly, few of those who saw her make a stunning debut at Hamilton in July 2015 would have been surprised the filly was set for better things.
The £44,000 breeze-up buy strolled home an easy five-length winner and trainer Karl Burke recalls: "She always showed us she had plenty of ability.
"We took her to Hamilton for a maiden, thinking she'd take a bit of beating, but we didn't think she'd win in the fashion she did. She never looked back from there."
Success in Listed company at Ayr and in a Group 3 at Newmarket encouraged high hopes for her three-year-old campaign.
"You hope at the start of the year they're going to be a Group 1 filly," Burke reflects. "I was confident through the winter she'd trained on."
A French reappearance success was followed by another devastating display at Haydock, where she took the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes by nearly four lengths.
"With that bit of cut in the ground she's very good," Burke says. "She'd be hard to beat in any company on soft ground over six furlongs."
And the rain fell right on cue for Royal Ascot, where Quiet Reflection was hot favourite for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.
"We were pretty confident," Burke admits. "But we didn't want to sound over-confident, never having had a winner at Royal Ascot. It didn't look the strongest Group 1 on paper and conditions were in her favour. She was very well and we'd have been very disappointed if she'd got beaten.
"I thought she should have been ridden a little bit further forward than she was but she got away with it."
"I think she'll run a big race," Burke says. "At the moment it looks as though the ground is against us, but she has form on proper good to firm ground. And if they have a rain shower or thunderstorm it will be to her advantage."