Karl Burke plotting big-race targets for Havana Grey and Laurens

TRAINER Karl Burke is busy making big-race plans for two of his stable stars.

Havana Grey bounced back to form in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes in Ireland at the weekend, while Laurens has been off since winning the French Oaks.

Havana Grey stormed back to form at the Curragh
PA:Press Association

Yorkshire-based Burke has nominated the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood as a likely target for rapid sprinter Havana Grey.

He could then head to York for the Nunthorpe on 24 August before heading overseas to the Prix de l’Abbaye and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

Classic winner Laurens, meanwhile, has been given a break since landing the Prix de Diane in France and is being prepared for the Yorkshire Oaks on 23 August.

Burke was particularly pleased to see Havana Grey get his head back in front on Sunday as the horse had been below his best in two previous outings this term.

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Burke said: “We were very happy with that. From what we had seen at home, we knew he had trained on but until they do it on the track, people don’t believe you.

“Three-year-olds take on older horses earlier in the year if they are five-furlong horses, it’s very tough for them.

“Add to that if they are not 100% right, it makes it difficult. It’s just coming to that time of year when he’s entitled to take on the older horses and as he showed on Sunday he’s well up to it.

“We’re aiming to go to Goodwood a week on Friday. Obviously he’s a Goodwood winner, he handles the track, it’s a huge prize for a Group 2.

“It’s not going to be an easy race, but none of them are after yesterday.

“All being well, he’ll go there, the Nunthorpe, then back to Ireland for the Flying Five and hopefully end up in the Abbaye and maybe the Breeders’ Cup. That’s the ambitious plan.”

Three-time Group 1 winner Laurens is also pleasing Burke as she gears up for her return to action.

He continued: “I watched her canter this morning (Monday). She’s moving brilliant and she looks fantastic.

Laurens’ three Group 1 wins include the Prix de Diane – also known as the French Oaks

“She had a good, easy three weeks after the Prix de Diane.

“She put on 22 kilos during that time, but you wouldn’t know looking at her. She’s got such a big frame.

“She’s back in her full routine now and hopefully heading to the Yorkshire Oaks.”


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