YORKSHIRE sprint stars Take Cover and Quiet Reflection put their reputations on the line this weekend in fascinating races on both sides of the Irish Sea.
The trailblazing Take Cover – winner of the illustrious Beverley Bullet on his last outing – should have his favoured quick ground in Newbury’s Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes today.
The same applies to Karl Burke’s dual Group One heroine Quiet Reflection who, conversely, will appreciate the more testing conditions in Ireland for tomorrow’s Renaissance Stakes at Naas.
First, Take Cover as the ultra-consistent sprinter seeks a 13th win in the gelding’s 40th start. With the Ayr Gold Cup meeting abandoned, Yorkshire jockey David Allan re-routes to Berkshire to resume his partnership with Take Cover after Tom Queally (in action at Newmarket) was a more than able deputy at Beverley.
“We had booked Harry Bentley, a Group One-winning jockey for the ride,” said Bawtry trainer David Griffiths. “With Ayr off, it makes sense to use Dave. He knows the horse which is a big advantage. Take Cover is very well – he’s come out of the Beverley race well and worked well earlier this week.
“The ground should be fine. He’s been unlucky this year – the only time he’s had his ground was at Beverley and even that wasn’t ideal.
“He goes there with a chance – thankfully, they’ve not had the rain. The quicker the ground, the better.”
The ground explains the presence, in a quality field, of the William Haggas-trained Muthmir, who had been due to run in next weekend’s Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly on Arc day.
“He’s been in great form this year, as good as we’ve had him, but I just haven’t been able to run him because at all the major meetings it has been soft ground,” said Skipton-born Haggas.
“He must have top of the ground, it’s pointless running him if there’s any cut. The options were run him here or wait for the Abbaye but it’s been soft ground in France for a month now.”
As for Quiet Reflection, the reigning Yorkshire horse-of-the-year has not raced since a lacklustre run at Haydock in May.
Tomorrow’s test is effectively a prep race for next month’s Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot and Leyburn-based Burke will be disappointed if his stable star, now four and owned by the Ontoawinner syndicate, does not put up an eye-catching performance.
Quiet Reflection won last season’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and Sprint Cup at Haydock and the Burke stable is in a rich run of form thanks to its exciting crop of top two-year-old prospects.
“She’s moving brilliantly and looks fantastic,” he told The Yorkshire Post. “I couldn’t be happier. the only thing that I would say is that she’s going there about six or seven kilos heavier than when she ran at Haydock.
“Whatever she does, she will improve slightly for the run. It’s a shame she hasn’t been able to go at these top sprints when the going has come up soft.”
James Tate’s Invincible Army – runner-up in York’s Gimcrack Stakes – re-apears in today’s Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.
The two-year-old subsequently lifted the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton and Tate has been on weather watch.
“We thought the chances of getting his ground at Newbury at this time of year were slim,” said the Harrogate-born handler. “He’s in great form.”