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Karl Burke excited by QIPCO 1000 Guineas claims of Laurens

26 Apr 2018

Trainer believes Fillies’ Mile winner has got a "big chance" at Newmarket on Sunday week

Laurens with Lucy Burke after working at Middleham on Thursday: Picture Dan Abraham-focusonracing.com

Karl Burke believes his QIPCO 1000 Guineas contender Laurens could still be “under the radar” despite her victory in the Group One Bet365 Fillies’ Mile at the end of last season.

The daughter of exciting French stallion Siyouni improved throughout last season, taking the Group Two May Hill Stakes at Doncaster before holding off the late lunge of September by a nose over the same course and distance on the Rowley Mile that will be used for the Classic on Sunday May 6, which is the second race in this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series.

“There are no easy Group Ones, no easy Classics,” Burke said on Thursday morning after watching his filly canter on the High Moor gallops in Middleham. “All you can do is get them there as fit and as well and healthy as you can.

“At this time of year, I think it’s especially hard for fillies. You can’t push them. You’ve just got to let them come and see if they’ve got the ability or they haven’t. And we know this filly has got the ability. It’s just a matter of getting her there on the day.

“She’s got a big chance. Her two-year-old form was very good and if anything I think she has improved on that. She’s a well-balanced filly for one who is so big and who has such a massive stride.

“I think she’s just gone under the radar a little bit. We analysed the times of that Group One. Everyone said September was unlucky and she was slightly impeded but they said she was quickening at the finish and it wasn’t that – Laurens was slowing down and that was just weakness.

“Now she’s a big strong filly and she can keep that great gallop up, do the sectional times that she was doing in the middle of that Group One win.

“She started slowing down at the two-pole in that race and her last furlong was her slowest. Now she’s that bit stronger, if she can keep that momentum and that gallop up, it’s going to be a good horse that gets by her.

“All winter September has been about 10 points shorter in the betting which we can’t really understand, bar the fact that it is trained by Aidan O’Brien.”

Burke took Laurens for a racecourse gallop at Newcastle on 18th April 18 and PJ McDonald, who rode the John Dance-owned filly in all four of her starts this season, will again be in the saddle at Newmarket.

However, the pair will first be reunited for a gallop close to Burke’s Middleham base this Friday.

“Going to Newcastle definitely brought her along, more mentally than physically. She’ll do one more piece of work. She did two good canters here on Tuesday. I didn’t want to gallop her, as such, but she’ll gallop on Friday under PJ and that will be her last proper piece of work.

“The thing is, although we want to win a Guineas, there’s a long season ahead of her. You can risk turning the screw with these fillies too early and we haven’t done that. She’s going to improve through the year, just naturally, more than us doing anything, and that’s the balancing act we have with her.”

“It would be fantastic to have a British Classic on the CV,” he said. “The best day I had in racing was when we sent Libertarian to the Investec Derby and he finished second. The whole event was fantastic. If we could go one better on Sunday in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, it’s going to be an amazing day.”