It’s not hard to see why the two-time Group 1 winning sprinter Quiet Reflection became one of the 2016 This Filly Can headline horses. Here, her trainer Karl Burke spoke to Grace Pugh about how he became associated with the filly, her career so far and her forthcoming four-year-old campaign.

Sire: Showcasing
Dam: My Delirium
Year of Birth: 2013
Trainer: Karl Burke
Owner: Ontoawinner, Strecker & Burke
Breeder: Springcombe Park Stud

Karl Burke purchased the daughter of Showcasing for £44,000 from Goff’s UK breeze up sale at Doncaster in April 2015, having previously gone through the ring as a yearling for £32,000. Having trained one of Showcasing’s first season foals, Toocoolforschool – who duly went on to win the Group 2 Mill Reef stakes for him and his team – Burke was immediately drawn to Showcasing’s offspring in the catalogue.

The filly’s page was always going to stand out for Burke, as he also trained her granddam Clare Hills to win two races and manage a respectable fourth place in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at York back in 2005. Quiet Reflection was consigned by Powerstown Stud in Ireland, a vendor Burke had always had a lot of luck purchasing horses from in the past.

‘The filly breezed well and in a professional manner which ticked all the boxes for me.’

The partnership of owners originated from just two fifty percent shares. It started out with Simon Bridge one of the Ontoawinner syndicate founders, who was present at Goff’s UK when she breezed purchasing half of the filly. Burke then took the other half share in the filly straight from the sale and later sold some of his share to Hugo Strecker. Strecker has had plenty of success with Burke including owning the 2013 Group 2 Dante Stakes winner Libertarian. The other fifty percent share owned by the Ontoawinner syndicate was split between the members, who were keen to be involved in another of Showcasing’s offspring having owned Toocoolforschool. With this, the partnership of Ontoawinner, Strecker and Burke was formed.

Like most breeze up horses Burke purchases from the sales he didn’t rush to start the daughter of Showcasing’s career too quickly; he gave her time to settle in to her new surroundings before bringing her back into fast work. From the start, Burke thought she showed promise in her level of work at home and felt they had good value from her £44,000 purchase price.

‘I would have been disappointed if she didn’t break her maiden that’s for sure.’

Throughout her two-year-old campaign Quiet Reflection proved to be very straightforward to train, Burke commenting that she was an extremely sweet filly who went about her work well. She achieved three race wins from only four starts in that season including a Group 3 win in the Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket racecourse at the back end of her campaign.

‘I couldn’t have hoped or dreamed she would be as good as she has ended up.’

Burkes’ plan was always to keep her in training as a three-year-old with the Prix Sigy at Chantilly in April 2016 pin-pointed for her first start as a three-year-old. As the race was very early on in the season Burke had no choice but to get the filly back into training prematurely from her break following her two-year-old campaign and have her ridden away over the Christmas period. Burke said that there were always going to be reservations about running her in France.  He added that ‘The step up from five furlongs to six furlongs and running a filly at that time of year can always be tricky’.

The early planning however paid off for Burke and his team, Quiet Reflection stuck to her guns to fight off the other contenders in heavy ground to win the Group 3 Prix Sigy by a head to Jimmy Two Times trained by Andre Fabre. Having impressed her trainer with the win, Burke targeted Quiet Reflection at the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock Park in May. The Sandy Lane is part of the new series of trial races for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June. She went onto win the Sandy Lane Stakes in exceptional fashion by three and a quarter lengths.

‘After her Haydock win she was on a big upward curve, that was one of her best performances to date.’

Following her impressive win at Haydock, Quiet Reflection was entered for her first Group 1 race, the six-furlong Commonwealth Cup. The race shaped-up quite nicely for Quiet Reflection with a few of the serious contenders dropping out and Burke went to Royal Ascot quietly confident his filly would produce the goods again and make it three wins from her three starts that season.

As predicted, everything fell into place for Quiet Reflection and she fought off her opponents to win the Group 1 by a length to the Tom Dascombe trained Kachy. Burke remarked ‘it was fantastic to get a Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot, it was a big occasion.’ He didn’t however think it was her best performance on the track with more still to come from the filly. Less than a month after her Royal Ascot win Quiet Reflection was entered to run in the Group 1 July Cup where she finished an honourable third.  to Henry Candy’s useful sprinter Limato.

Quiet Reflection was given a short break from the track after the July Cup and was not seen on the racecourse again until her reappearance in the Group 1 Sprint Cup Stakes at Haydock in September. She travelled extremely well throughout the race against older horses and put in an impressive performance to beat the James Fanshawe trained The Tin Man by one and three quarter lengths.

‘Both her performances at Haydock to date have been the most memorable of her starts so far but the Sprint Cup Stakes was a phenomenal performance.’

Her last start of the season was a return to Ascot for the Group 1 British Champions Sprint Stakes on Champions Day in October. Unfortunately, after a long campaign, she could only manage seventh place in a race won by the horse she had beaten on her previous start The Tin Man. She is now having a well-deserved break and being a filly that likes her routine she is still based at Karl Burkes’ Spigot Lodge yard, where she is currently going on the walker and getting turned out for an hour or so each day.

‘To achieve two Group 1 wins with a three-year-old filly is just brilliant.’

Burke confirmed that Quiet Reflection will be kept in the yard for her four-year-old campaign which will be focussed on having her in peak fitness for next year’s Champions Day at Ascot. The possibility of sending the filly to Dubai for the World Cup meeting in March was discussed with her owners, but it is likely that she will bypass Dubai, allowing her to have a longer winter break, so she can maintain her form until the end of the season. Burke added that they don’t plan to have a saddle on her until around early to mid-January with the aim being to make her reappearance on the track in May. The Group 2 Duke of York over six furlongs at York Racecourse has been outlined as a possible season debut or, if the ground is soft a return to five-furlongs for the Group 2 Temple stakes at Haydock.

Quiet Reflection is not the only good value filly Burke has had in the yard though; last year he trained 22,000 euro Arqana purchase Odeliz to win two Group 1 races and a Group 3 race. He also trained another inexpensive filly, Lesson in Humility, who was purchased for only 20,000gns from Tattersalls. She came third in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and then went on to win the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes at Leopardstown. Burke added he liked training fillies and has had a lot of success with some very good value purchases.

‘I have always been lucky with the fillies, very lucky.’

On behalf of the This Filly Can campaign team we would like to wish Karl Burke and his team the best of luck in the future. We look forward to seeing Quiet Reflection in her four-year-old campaign.

For more information please visit the Karl Burke website:

karlburke.co.uk